A POLICE constable dealing with a domestic dispute in south Cumbria was confronted by a man who threatened him with what was thought to be a loaded crossbow.

The terrifying encounter happened in Lord Street, Millom, prompting the officer threatened by 46-year-old Peter Stevens to ask the defendant’s relatives to leave the property because of the potential threat.

But the  incident ended peacefully a short time later, when Stevens was disarmed by a relative who approached him and hugged him, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

The defendant admitted four offences: assaulting an emergency worker, possessing the crossbow and a knife, and stealing a bottle of alcohol.

The court heard that the officer was called out to the defendant’s Lord Street home on the evening of September 25 last year because there was a domestic argument within the property.

When the constable arrived, Stevens was initially in an upstairs room but he came down the stairs. As the officer was speaking to him, Stevens went back upstairs, commenting that he police would have to “come and get me.”

He also mentioned getting a crossbow, which led to the constable asking family members to leave the property to ensure their safety. As they were going Stevens came down the stairs carrying a large black crossbow.

He pointed it at the officer, who backed away.

The defendant was then seen walking away, passing family members. When he returned a short time later, the officer again backed away.

The defendant’s family had been advised to lock the door but a family member arrived, hugged Stevens and took the crossbow from him, allowing the police to move in and arrest him. When he was searched, the officers found a knife in his pocket.

When interviewed, the court heard, Stevens said he could not recall anything of the incident because he had been drinking.

He admitted owning a crossbow but said he kept it in the attic. When the weapon was checked, it was found not to be loaded, and the bolts were found in the defendant’s room.

The defendant expressed remorse for his actions. Recorder Julian Shaw gave the defendant a nine-month jail term suspended for two years.

The sentence includes a three month mental health treatment requirement and ten rehabilitation activity days. The judge told Stevens that he accepted his life had not been easy but urged him to engage with the people who are there to help him.

“Any further offending like this, whatever difficulties and demons you are facing, will not keep you out of jail,” added the judge.

After the case concluded, a Cumbria Police spokesman said: “This was a concerning incident for officers who attended.

“However, in the face of a significant threat involving what they believed to be a loaded crossbow, they handled the situation calmly and professionally, bringing a difficult situation to a conclusion without anyone coming to harm.”

The alcohol stolen by Stevens was a bottle of Jaegermeister taken from Tesco.