A TEENAGE orphan pointed a crossbow at a traffic warden who waded into a scrap involving the boy’s friends, a court heard.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be named because he is under 18, brandished the weapon in a bid to disperse a group that were laying into two pals it was claimed.

Appearing before Swindon Youth Court yesterday, he pleaded guilty to affray and possession of a crossbow by a person under 18.

Prosecutor Kate Prince told the court a traffic warden was dealing with an issue on Savernake Street, Eastcott, when he became aware of an argument nearby.

He left the area but returned shortly afterwards and tried to defuse the broiling dispute.

He saw a balaclava-wearing boy outside a house. The youngster shouted: “I’ll get a gun and shoot you.” The boy went inside, coming back out brandishing a crossbow. The weapon was pointed directly at the traffic warden. He then walked towards another man with his hand on the trigger, saying “I will shoot you” before going back inside and leaving the weapon behind.

It was later retrieved by police.

Magistrates heard the boy had a significant list of previous convictions, including for violence, and at the time of the affray was subject to a youth court order.

Emma Thacker, defending, said her young client had grabbed the weapon after his friends were assaulted by another group. “He didn’t know what to do. He has gone into a flat and retrieved this item, a crossbow, to disperse the group.

“He is a young man who at that time of his life was living in accommodation on his own. He was not happy living in that accommodation on his own.

“All he wanted was a family. He wanted to be guided and the only people who were guiding him were his friends.”

The youngster was an orphan and had been in the care of the council.

His lack of family left him especially protective of his friends. Since last June he had been turning his life around.

Magistrates adjourned the case to February 18 and ordered a pre-sentence report.

Chairman of the bench Gail Chilcott, warned the boy: “In 12 weeks and one day you will be 18.

“If you commit offences as an adult you don’t come through that door to youth court, you go through a different door into a different court and you get treated very differently.”