Northern Ireland wheelie bin cleaner threatened to put bullet in rival's head
A Co Antrim man attempted to scare off a rival wheelie bin cleaner by threatening to put a bullet in his head, a court has heard.
William Thomas Gamble (54), of Garryduff Road, Ballymoney, admitted a charge of attempted intimidation.
The defendant had issued a series of remarks aimed at stopping a competitor approaching potential customers regarding bin cleaning services, Coleraine Magistrates Court heard yesterday.
A prosecutor said the defendant also told the rival: "I will put you in a wooden box."
The incidents happened in May and June last year when a man told police there had been a series of incidents of "harassment and intimidation in relation to a wheelie bin cleaning business in the Coleraine and wider area".
The prosecutor said at some stages the injured party recorded Gamble by using a mobile phone.
On one occasion the defendant approached the man in the Mountsandel area of Coleraine and said he would "trample him into the ground" and after a half-hour tirade the other bin cleaner was left shaken.
In June last year the victim was cleaning bins in Coleraine when Gamble approached and again told him to stay away from customers "or else I will put a bullet in your head". The prosecutor said that when interviewed Gamble agreed he used obscene language, telling the man to go back to New Zealand, but denied making the bullet remark.
Previously in court, Gamble admitted the one charge he faced.
Defence barrister Eoghan Devlin said it was "bizarre" behaviour but happened at a time of "unusual stress in his life".
The barrister said his client asked him to explicitly apologise to the victim.
Mr Devlin said the "unsavoury" incidents had flared up but Gamble then "came to his senses".
Judge King noted the defendant had already taken action himself to get help with issues he was facing but he said the court viewed such attempted intimidation seriously.
Regarding the New Zealand remark, the judge told Gamble: "You are fortunate not to have this prosecuted on the basis of hostility."
He ordered Gamble to do 75 hours of unpaid work; placed him on probation for a year and banned the defendant from contacting the other bin cleaner for two years.