A HOAX caller who told 999 operators he was armed with a knife and a gun has avoided a spell behind bars.

Cameron Haley, 23, told the operator there would be “a mad man with a knife at Mersea” when he made the chilling call.

He said he had a blade, as well as a gun, and if police officers went near him he would kill them.

Haley then gave a false name and hung up.

When the operator called back, the hoax caller threatened to kill the man’s family and said he would have to come and find him “near the pier”.

Officers were sent to the area and recognised Haley.

An earlier hearing, Chelmsford Crown Court heard Haley suffered from unexplained periods of rage followed by blackouts.

The court heard he had previously self-harmed.

Judge Patricia Lynch QC adjourned sentencing, allowing for time to amend a pre-sentence report to touch on the offender’s anger management and problems with alcohol.

At the sentencing hearing, Judge Lynch imposed a four month prison sentence which was suspended for two years.

She ordered Haley, of St Peter’s Road, West Mersea, to complete a 30 day rehabilitation activity requirement and 29 sessions of an unspecified programme to tackle his anger issues.

She said: “This really was quite a serious matter, and you know it was, for all sorts of reasons.

“Not least because the emergency services really do have emergencies that they have to address. With your medical background or not, you should realise any suggestion of the nature of these threats you made are going to put all sorts of emergency services on notice.

“The only mitigation as far as you are concerned is the fact you have accepted your guilt at an early stage and the fact the consultant who examined you made the recommendations he has.”

“The emergency services have better things to do.

"I take into account your plea of guilty and your personal mitigation and expert reports I have had the opportunity to see.

"Alcohol coupled with loss of temper – that is what needs to be addressed but you know that as well as I do.

“You are a grown man and you are the person who should be addressing that.”