Police who received several reports from the public of a gunman roaming the streets of Inverness arrested a teenager two days later.
Inverness Sheriff Court heard that Stephen Dick, 18, still had the firearm in his possession – but it turned out to be a toy BB pistol.
Sheriff Margaret Neilson dismissed Dick’s explanation to police that it was not a firearm and the plastic pellets wouldn’t pierce the skin.
She said: “It could still take someone’s eye out. The public who were alarmed did not know it was a toy.”
Dick, who is currently serving a nine-month sentence at Polmont Young Offender’s Institution, appeared before her to admit a number of charges as well as for a deferred sentence.
The court was told that Dick had gone on a month-long crime spree between February and March this year, fuelled by alcohol.
On February 20, he kicked and broke a plate glass window of a licensed newsagent in Farraline Park because staff had refused to sell him a bottle of alcohol.
Three days later he was in Tesco Inshes when he dropped a bottle of wine, smashing it on the floor. The court heard as security staff tried to remove him, he shouted that he was a police inspector and there was a bomb in the store.
On March 3, Dick stole two bottles of gin worth £50 from Marks and Spencer and twelve days later, police received the gunman reports.
Defence solicitor Marc Dickson said: “His offending is against the background of alcohol.”
Dick was sentenced to 180 hours of unpaid community work to commence on his release from custody later this month. He was also placed under one year’s social work supervision with a review in three months on February 13.
He will also be dealt with on the deferred sentence, in relation to hindering police in May, on that date.