Fake gun used on paramedic during bogus 999 callout
A FAKE gun was used on paramedics after they received a bogus 999 call-out to a house where they were told someone had died.
Police have confirmed that they arrested a 67-year-old man following the incident at a house in the Montgomery road area of east Belfast last Thursday evening.
One of the paramedics disarmed the pensioner after he threatened them with the imitation firearm.
The two-man ambulance crew had received an emergency call before 8pm saying that someone had died suddenly in the house.
When they arrived they discovered a woman in another room who was not ill. The man left and then returned a short time later with the high-end replica gun.
The paramedic who retrieved the gun suffered a back injury and had to be stood down. He then called the police for assistance.
Ambulance service spokesman John McPoland described the attack as one of the "most sinister" in the past 10 years.
There has been a massive spike in the number of assaults on 999 crews, with an average of eight a week currently being recorded.
"Given the circumstances involved in this incident, the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service would reiterate its call that anyone involved in any type of assault on our crews should face the full rigours of the law, especially if they have been called to a scene under false pretences," Mr McPoland said.
"Our staff are there to provide help to the helpless and to remove fear from the fearful and yet all too often they are being faced with situations which are becoming more serious in nature."
A police spokeswoman confirmed that the 67-year-old was arrested on suspicion of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and improper use of public electronic communications network. He was released on bail pending further enquiries.