A THUG who pointed an airgun at his neighbour’s face because he thought he had been talking about him has been jailed for four years.

David Snape held a carbon dioxide BB gun against John Bond’s cheek.

The terrifying incident happened at Mr Bond’s home in Gregson Field, Daubhill, last August.

The victim, who believed the weapon to be a real gun, managed to wrestle it from Snape’s grasp and hit him several times before he retreated into his house and called the police.

Snape, who was drunk at the time of the incident and angry because he believed Mr Bond had been talking about him to another neighbour, then sat outside the house and even asked a passer-by if he could retrieve the weapon from inside Mr Bond’s house.

The 57-year-old, who also lives in Gregson Field, initially denied the charges and claimed Mr Bond had pulled out the gun on him.

But in April, following a trial, he was found guilty of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence.

Yesterday at Bolton Crown Court it was revealed that since his guilty verdict, Snape, who was jailed for four years for a previous firearms offence in 1985, now wants to “publicly apologise” for his actions.

Defending, Nick Ross said: “He now fully accepts it was his gun, which is all the more disappointing, but he does wish to apologise for what has occurred.”

The court was also told Snape has a long history of drug abuse, which has resulted in mobility issues and the need to use crutches to get around.

While the airgun was not fired in the incident, prosecutor Louise Brandon confirmed it was a weapon “capable of piercing skin and causing lethal injury,” and that Mr Bond had said the incident had “ruined his life” and caused his daughter and grandchild to refuse to visit him at his home.

Passing sentence, Judge Elliot Knopf said: “This was most clearly a gun that had pellets capable of piercing skin and causing injury had it been used.”

He added that Snape’s previous conviction, despite being some years ago, “showed a willingness to be involved with firearms”.