Man threatened police with improvised flamethrower in coastal home

Great Yarmouth Magistrates CourtByline: Sonya Duncan

Mark Foad was sentenced at Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Three police officers were threated by a man with an improvised flamethrower in a coastal village, a court has heard.

Mark Foad wielded an aerosol can and a lighter towards police after he barricaded himself in a bedroom at his then home in Winterton, near Great Yarmouth.

The three officers feared for their safety during the incident, with one saying they faced the "prospect of being burned".

On Friday Foad, 59, was handed a suspended prison sentence after he admitted threatening the officers with an offensive weapon, namely a homemade flamethrower

Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court heard police were called to Coast Guard Cottages in King Street on June 17 as Foad had refused to leave the property following a court order telling him to vacate the property and hand over keys.

Bailiffs had found Foad barricaded in a bedroom and called police in.

One of the officers used what was called a method of entry device to break down the bedroom door.

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It removed one panel, which allowed officers to see Foad.

Colette Harper, prosecuting, said: "He was seen to have an aerosol in his left hand and a lighter in his right hand."

Foad then pointed the makeshift flamethrower towards officers.

Ms Harper said one officer said: "We faced the prospect of being burned from the spray from the lighter."

The incident saw police negotiators and specially trained tactical officers also called in to deal with the incident.

The court heard the property belonged to Foad's partner, who had split up with him after more than 30 years together.

The split up lead to a court order being served demanding he leave and hand over all keys.

Calvin Saker, mitigating, said Foad had been highly depressed and anxious and felt his whole life had "caved in".

Mr Saker said: "He is absolutely distraught by what he has done.

"He is hugely remorseful, particularly towards the officers.

"They were only doing their job and he recognises that."

Foad now lives in Reigate in Surrey and had not been in trouble since the 1970s.

Magistrates sentenced him to 52 weeks in prison, suspended for two years.

He was also given the same suspended prison sentence to run concurrently after admitting three charges of assaulting an emergency worker and one charge of breaching a non-molestation order.