AN ARMED man who knocked on a door and told the householder “this is a stick up” has been jailed for five years.

Edward Stirling, who had armed himself with a large knife and replica gun, told the occupant to call the police, Swindon Crown Court was told.

And when officers arrived on the scene, the 51-year-old told them he had also scratched a number of cars saying he was not taken his anti-psychotic drugs for schizophrenia.

Stirling has previous convictions for taking a family hostage and waving a knife around outside an Old Town convenience store.

Jailing him, Judge Robert Pawson said: “Your repeated carrying of weapons and your unpredictability lead me to the conclusion you pose not just a risk, but a significant risk of causing serious harm by committing further offences.” Stirling was given an extended two year licence period, meaning he must serve at least two thirds of his five year jail term before he can apply for parole.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, said Stirling had gone to a house off Okus Road, on the evening of Monday, October 29, and knocked on the door. It was answered by the homeowner.

“He looked down to find he was holding both a knife and gun in his hand. The defendant said ‘This is a stick up’.”

“He said he was homeless, had not eaten in three days and needed help. He asked him to call the police.”

This Is Wiltshire:

Edward Stirling

The man went upstairs and dialled 999, closing the front door. Police arrived soon after arresting Stirling opposite the junction with The Mall.

Footage from an officer’s body-worn camera showed Stirling putting the large knife down when he was asked to and telling them he had vandalised a number of cars. Mr Meeke said the robber had “scared the living daylights” out of the householder, though the man said he did not think the gun - a water pistol painted black - was real.

Stirling, formerly of Bath Road, admitted assault with intent to rob, possessing an imitation firearm with intent, having a bladed article and criminal damage.

The court heard in 2006 he was jailed for three years at Aylesbury Crown Court after he took a family hostage at their home.

This Is Wiltshire:

The corner of The Mall and Okus Road

In 2012, he was given five years after a case at Oxford Crown Court where he went to a house saying he had been run over and when paramedics arrived he was found with a knife and toy gun.

And in 2017 he went into a shop off Okus Road waving a knife about telling people to call the police before he harmed himself.

Chris Smyth, defending, said a psychiatric report showed his client does not suffer from a mental illness but found anti-psychotic drugs helped his anxiety and depression.

He said he was born in Northern Ireland, adopted as a child, and came to the England to escape the troubles after losing a number of friends.

Although he threatened the victim he had never actually used one of the weapons to cause physical harm, he said.

Following the case, one 42-year-old eyewitness who called 999 after seeing the assailant, said the incident had made him more conscious of home security.

The man, who asked not to be named, said: “We never thought such a crime would take place in the Old Town area. Since that evening we ensure doors are locked and look through the peephole before opening the door.”

This Is Wiltshire:

The gun Stirling was found with by officers

Det Con Leah Dunn of Wiltshire Police said: “I am pleased that Stirling has been given a custodial sentence to reflect the severity of his behaviour.

"On October 29, he knocked at the door of a family who were unknown to him and confronted the homeowner with a knife and what appeared to be a genuine firearm.

"He demanded money from the victim, who - fearing for his own life – shut the door immediately and called the police. Stirling had every intention of causing fear and the threat of violence to his victim who was understandably shaken up as a result of his actions.

"After he failed to gain entry to the house, Stirling then proceeded to damage several vehicles in the local streets using the knife. He continued to wave the weapon around in full view of the public.

"We will not tolerate this kind of behaviour. Residents should feel safe, especially in the comfort of their own home, and Stirling’s threatening behaviour in a normally quiet residential area compromised this.

"Thankfully, incidents like this are rare and members of the public should feel reassured that the area remains a safe community to live in.”