A MASKED gunman, who was bundled away from a bar by customers, was caught after his distinctive gold tooth was recognised.

Antuanne Elson took exception to being asked to leave the Overdraught bar in Radcliffe because he and a friend were not appropriately dressed.

At a sentencing hearing held at Minshull Street Crown Court using Skype video conferencing, Lisa Boocock, prosecuting, told how 34-year-old Elson and his pal had gone to the Blackburn Street bar on November 29.

"They were in breach of the dress code. They were allowed to have an initial drink but they were then asked to leave," said Miss Boocock.

The friend then left but Elson stayed and became abusive to landlord Alistair Johnson.

Elson threatened: "You know who I am, I'm a bad man.

"You barred me before. I'll get my boys down, Me and my boys will shut this place down."

The court heard how Mr Johnson told him he was a "gobs**te" and Elson walked away, only to return two hours later in the early hours of November 30.

Miss Boocock told how Elson had changed into black clothing with a balaclava or scarf covering his face.

"The outside of the premises was crowded with customers as it was near to closing time," she said, adding that Elson asked Mr Johnson to go down the road with him for "a chat", but the landlord refused.

"The defendant had one of his hands concealed in his coat and he now brought out a silver coloured imitation firearm," said Miss Boocock.

One witness described the pistol or revolver-style weapon being so shiny it looked like it had just come out of a packet.

And Mr Johnson, stood in the doorway to the bar, was not fooled when the imitation firearm was waved at his face.

"Mr Johnson did not think it was real and slapped the defendant's arm away from him," said Miss Boocock.

Elson repeatedly pointed it at the landlord.

"Not wanting even a ball-bearing gun to be pointed in his face and possibly being shot with it, Mr Johnson describes that his heart was pounding," said Miss Boocock.

Elson claimed that the weapon was loaded and he would shoot before members of the public pushed him into the road.

Miss Boocock added: "Mr Johnson shows, what your honour might think, considerable robustness because he said that after incident he felt fine.

"He felt a little scared, although he did not think that the gun was genuine. He was more concerned for his customers than for himself."

During the incident, which was captured on CCTV, Elson briefly took his face covering down.

"That revealed the flash of a distinctive gold tooth," said Miss Boocock.

"One of the customers had noted what the defendant's first name was and this, combined with the information that it was somebody with a gold tooth, led the police to the defendant and he was then arrested."

When questioned by officers Elson, of New Church Walk, Radcliffe, claimed that he had felt "belittled" by Mr Johnson's treatment of him and had wanted to scare him.

Elson, who has a lengthy criminal record, pleaded guilty to possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.

Jailing him for 32 months, Judge Angela Nield said: "This was an incident of significant concern."