Man dialled 999 can said that he wanted a hitman

Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC
Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC

A man who called 999 and told police he “wanted a hitman” has been given a suspended jail term after admitting mis-using the emergency phone system.

Mark Anthony Tenchio (40), from Main Street, Portglenone, also told the police he was in possession of a “9mm” pistol and he was going to shoot somebody.

The police phone operator kept him talking and when the defendant gave his address a police Armed Response Unit was sent out to the call which turned out to be a hoax.

A prosecutor told Ballymena Magistrates Court the cost of the police man hours for the call-out was £2,500.

Tenchio, originally from England, was arrested on a warrant and brought to court in relation to the incident which happened in 2013.

He pleaded guilty to improper use of a communications network to cause anxiety and also admitted wasting police time by making a ‘false report giving rise to apprehension for the safety of others’.

The prosecutor said a caller with an English accent was put through to a police dispatcher in Maydown and indicated he “wanted a hitman”, saying he had a gun and was going to shoot someone but would not say who.

Defence solicitor Connel Trainor said his client, who had mental health issues, had engaged in a “very amateurish” manner with police. The lawyer said Tenchio wished to apologise to police.

A one-month jail term, suspended for a year, was imposed.

District Judge Peter King said he was prepared to consider the incident as “a blip”.