A teenager who armed himself with an imitation handgun and then walked through Bradford streets dressed in black wearing a balaclava and safety glasses has been sentenced to a 12-month community order.

Bradford Crown Court heard on Monday how Connor Wade, who was 17 at the time, claimed to have bought the spring-operated BB gun for £17 and wanted it for protection after being assaulted in Shipley a few weeks earlier.

Prosecutor Philip Adams said Wade, now 18, was seen by concerned members of the public walking along Otley Road and Valley Road in the middle of the afternoon on April 16 last year.

“He caused alarm to members of the public by walking along wearing a balaclava while brandishing the black BB gun which had the appearance of a genuine firearm,” said Mr Adams.

One witness described seeing Wade holding the gun with his arms outstretched as if he was aiming at something.

“He was dressed all in black and was wearing what appeared to be clear plastic safety glasses over the balaclava,” said Mr Adams.

Half a dozen people made emergency calls to the police and officers arrived on the scene as Wade was crossing the railway bridge on Valley Road.

When one of the officers pointed a Taser at the teenager he immediately cooperated and raised his hands.

Wade had discarded the unloaded imitation handgun and police later found some pellets at his home address.

Barrister Fuad Arshad said Wade, of Manningham Lane, Bradford, had no intention of causing any injury to anyone and it had been unsophisticated offending.

His client pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence and Mr Arshad said the teenager had no previous convictions.

Mr Arshad said Wade had been diagnosed with ADHD and he also suffered from a learning disability.

“He told the author of the pre-sentence report that he believed the imitation firearm would offer him some form of protection from further attacks,” said Mr Arshad.

He said Wade had been described as a vulnerable young man with an almost “fantasy like” approach to problem solving.

The teenager is currently living in supported accommodation and Judge Colin Burn noted that a custodial sentence could do significant damage to him.

The judge told Wade he would be subject to a 12-month community order with a condition that he complies with 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

“It is very important that if you have any further difficulties like this you approach it in a different way and not doing something that scares the living daylights out of members of the public,” the judge told Wade.