A MAN who threatened two Hampshire firefighters with an imitation firearm has been jailed.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to Andrew Lambert's home in Winston Way, Ringwood, at around 10pm on July 21 last year.

As they dealt with a bonfire in his garden, Lambert threatened to shoot the officers from a first floor window.

The imitation firearm was later identified as an Airsoft BB rifle with a scope, painted black to make it look like a real firearm.

Lambert, 40, pleaded guilty to affray when he appeared at Bournemouth Crown Court and has now been jailed for 18 months.

He will also serve a further six months after the court activated a suspended sentence imposed for a previous offence.

Detective Constable Chris Orr said: “This was a frightening experience for the firefighters involved and we are delighted that the man responsible has been brought to justice.

“This should send a warning to anyone else tempted to behave in this irresponsible and threatening manner.”

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Stew Adamson, Director of Operations for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: "It is completely unacceptable for emergency service workers to have to worry about acts such as these while they are trying to help the public.

"Not only can they obstruct or delay crews from carrying out what can often be life-saving work, there can also be lasting impacts on the staff who are subjected to this type of disgraceful behaviour.

"We are greatly encouraged by the new legislation that provides greater powers to deal with such assaults on blue-light workers and I would like to thank our colleagues from Hampshire Constabulary for their work in bringing this particular criminal to justice."