A MAN made a 999 call to police reporting himself as having a gun and being ready to shoot someone in Greenock town centre.

Patrick McAleese pretended to an operator that he was man called 'Paul' — then named his true self as the person outside with a 9mm Beretta.

Boozed-up McAleese carried out the ruse after staggering into a business premises on West Blackhall Street and asking to use the phone to make the emergency call.

Greenock Sheriff Court heard how he told the call handler that an armed response team was needed urgently at nearby West Stewart Street.

Prosecutor Lindy Scaife said: "The accused stated that Patrick McAleese was going to shoot somebody, 'cos the male is a bit volatile'.

"He said the suspect was at Semichem and he provided a description."

The court was told that McAleese then abruptly ended the call and stood outside Semichem, where two officers on routine patrol found him.

Fiscal depute Ms Scaife said: "The accused began being abusive towards the police, shouting and swearing.

"He stated, 'I'll go get it and put a bullet in him — I know who he is and I'll shoot him'.

"He also shouted at members of the public, stating, 'You're a beast, beast, beast'."

McAleese, of Stonehaven Road, committed the offences on the afternoon of September 14 last year.

He had also been accused of having an opened can of the alcoholic energy drink Dragon Soop and stealing a football from Sports Direct, but his pleas of not guilty to these charges were accepted.

Sheriff Joseph Hughes remarked: "The [background] report describes it as a cry for help, however, I'm at a loss as to what he hoped to achieve.

"The police arrive and he just behaves in an atrocious manner."

Defence lawyer Aidan Gallagher said: "He was extremely intoxicated at the time, and is described as being of low mood and having suicidal thoughts.

"No such firearm was found on him but it is accepted that his language and behaviour towards the police and public was wholly unacceptable."

Sheriff Hughes told McAleese: "Making such a call and saying that someone was in possession of a firearm with the intention of shooting someone is bad enough.

"But when you were arrested you were abusive to the police and towards members of the public as well.

"This has to be marked by a custodial sentence."

The sheriff sentenced McAleese to eight months imprisonment.