A GUNMAN was found wandering up and down a high street, trying to talk himself out of robbing a city bookies.
Darren Overing had an air pistol in a bag when he was stopped by a PC who grabbed his hands to stop him in High Street, Cosham.
Portsmouth Crown Court heard a witness had spotted the air pistol in the bag and alerted police to Overing.
Overing, 51, confessed to police: ‘I was planning to rob the Stan James betting shop.
‘Every time I went to, someone was walking in or going out.
‘I didn’t go in there, so I decided to leave it for a while, which is when I got stopped and searched.’
The pistol, which he had in a red bag, was not loaded.
Prosecutor Daniel Sawyer said: ‘He quite plainly had a firearm to rob a bookies.’
The incident happened on December 3 last year.
Overing has 36 previous convictions for 95 offences, the court heard.
His own barrister said Overing had it ‘going round and round in his own head, contemplating the rights and wrongs of making the further step.
The court heard Overing was ‘trying to talk himself out of going that further step and entering that shop.’
Overing had previously been jailed for five years for an attempted robbery with a replica pistol, the sentencing hearing was told.
Sentencing, judge Ian Pearson jailed Overing for three years and nine months for having the gun and for a burglary at a pub.
Judge Pearson said: ‘The more serious offence is going out with the view to rob a bookmaker with the air pistol.’
He added: ‘It would have been used to intimidate members of staff.’
Overing, of no fixed address but latterly of Farnborough, pleaded guilty to having an imitation firearm with intent to commit an indictable offence.
He also admitted burglary, in relation to raiding The Wellington pub on the night of October 4 to 5.
Overing had broken the glass of a rear door and cut himself.
He was wandering around inside before spotting CCTV and switching it off. The landlord was unable to see if anything had been taken.
Judge Pearson ordered the gun to be forfeited and destroyed.