A BRADFORD man caught on camera holding imitation firearm was trying to escape from a gang who later slashed him in the back causing “horrific” injuries, a court heard.

Luke Heron appeared before Bradford Crown Court after pleading guilty to possession of an imitation firearm on April 2 last year.

Prosecutor Alisha Kaye said Heron, now 24, and another man were in a car seen driving at speed along Grove Terrace in Bradford before it pulled into a car park.

Footage from nearby CCTV cameras showed Heron climbing out of the car holding what turned out to be an imitation firearm.

It was quickly taken from him by the other man who was then seen to be pointing it at other people who were pursuing them and trying to defend himself. Heron fled the scene.

The same group of males then injured Heron by slashing him in the back, causing stab injuries that needed 41 stitches in hospital.

A police search of several properties uncovered an imitation firearm, but it may not have been the same one used by Heron, and it was not found at his home.

Miss Kaye said Heron, of Nene Street, Bradford, had previously been jailed for assault with a machete and that he was “no stranger to carrying weapons in a public place”.

Mitigating, Gerald Hendron said Heron “misguidedly” picked up the imitation firearm as he left the car when it was under attack and held it only momentarily before it was taken from him. There was no suggestion it belonged to him.

He said: “As the defendant ran away from these individuals who, incidentally, were firing something at the car, he was cornered as he tried to climb over a fence and he was slashed [in the lower back].”

He said the injuries he received at the hands of his assailants had been “horrific” leaving him with depression, anxiety, flashbacks and PTSD.

Sentencing Heron to an 18-month community order and ordering him to undertake 25 rehabilitation activity requirement days, Mr Recorder Shamin Qureshi said: “You are now on the receiving end of the kind of behaviour that you have been dishing out to others.

“You’ve got to learn to stay out of trouble.”