ARMED police were given permission to shoot, if required, to stop an unstable 34 year old man driving a six wheeled 20 ton quarry truck.

Caernarfon crown court was told on Wednesday September 4, Nicholas Hornby had made a late night 999 call to police in June saying he was at Raynes Quarry, Llanddulas, near Colwyn Bay, at the wheel of a 12 ton dumper truck and warning he intended to take it out on to a main road.

While officers were at the scene he drove a Volvo truck, and police vans offered no real protection to the public if they were rammed, prosecutor Anna Price said. Police knew about Hornby’s mental difficulties and feared for public safety. Roads were shut.

The situation ended after more than an hour when Hornby walked over to officers.

Judge Peter Heywood said the trucks weren’t Tonka toys and four vehicles had been moved. However, Hornby had the good sense not to drive on to the public road or ram the police vehicles.

But there had been such concern that armed police could have used a critical shot if they felt it necessary. “That shows the serious nature of the incident,” the judge remarked. “Your mental state was very fragile.”

Hornby, of no fixed address, was jailed for 27 months. He admitted burglary, affray and criminal damage.

Simon Killeen, defending, said: ”The fact he stayed on site is relevant.” Counsel remarked: ”He’s ashamed of what he did.” Hornby was now stable on his medication”.