armed police operation has escaped with a £67 fine.

A MAN who terrified neighbours by sparking an armed police operation has escaped with a £67 fine.

Simon Craven, 34, caused the drama by taking potshots out of his window in Crowstone Avenue, Westcliff, with an air weapon.

John Balm, 66, who was walking past, called police after hearing a shot fly past his head.

He thought it sounded like it had come from a high-powered gun, and was shocked to hear a second shot fired.

Thinking it had come from a window, he looked up to see the barrel of a gun pointing out towards him.

A team of armed officers was called to the scene on the afternoon of Sunday, July 10, and arrested Craven.

He later pleaded guilty to having a Baby Desert Eagle .177 calibre air pistol to fire missiles outside his home.

Because of the nature of the offence, the most Southend Magistrates’ Court could give him was a fine.

In addition to the fine, he was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Speaking at the time of the incident, a woman who lives in a flat opposite, in Crowstone Road, said: “We couldn’t believe it.