Police were alerted by a member of the public when a sleeping man was seen in the street with a gun in his pocket.
Damion Pablis, a tattooist, was on the steps of a Nottingham Trent University building in Goldsmith Street, Nottingham, when other officers were called to the scene on August 24 this year.
Pablis got to his feet and said: “Yeah, I have a gun” and that it was to “protect myself”.
The gun – an imitation firearm with blank firing rounds – was recovered with a knuckle duster.
In police interview, Pablis said he purchased the gun for protection and “he forgot about the knuckle duster in his pocket,” explained Anthony Cheung, prosecuting at Nottingham Crown Court.
Pablis was convicted of the same offence on August 6, 2019, and received a 12-month community order, and convicted of reckless discharge of a firearm in Scotland.
Christopher Brewin, mitigating, told the court: “He knows he is going to prison because of what his record shows, because of an identical offence last year”.
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Pablis, 40, originates from Poland, has been in the UK for 13 and a half years and in Nottingham for two and a half years.
He works as a tattooist and had bought the fake gun for £300. He has been diagnosed with epilepsy and has blackouts, added Mr Brewin.
Judge Steven Coupland said Pablis had been drunk and unconscious and “what really caught peoples’ attention was you had a gun tucked in your waistband” and “people who saw it thought it was real”.
The imitation gun was loaded with blank firing rounds, said the judge, and looked real.
“As you know there is no excuse at all for having an item like that in public,” he added.
He also said: “You know how serious this was because you were dealt with already for having a similar item – an imitation firearm – a year ago”.
Pablis, of Gladstone Street, Forest Fields, had previously been seriously robbed, the court heard.
The judge revoked the community order and replaced it with two months in prison. He imposed six months in jail consecutively for possessing an imitation firearm and four months consecutively for possessing an offensive weapon – the knuckle duster in a public place.
The total sentence is 12 months and he will serve half.
The judge ordered forfeiture and destruction of the imitation gun, the blank rounds in it, blank ammunition found at his address and the knuckle duster.