ARMED police rushed to a home after reports that shots had been fired - to find a man aiming an air rifle at a WATERMELON.

Delvin Paul Wareham had been trying to show off the weapon to his brother-in-law by shooting at the fruit.

But the noise alarmed locals in Shepton Mallet, Somerset - who decided to call the police.

Armed officers then rushed to the scene and escorted Wareham out of his address before carrying out a search of the property.

The 32-year-old admitted the offence at Somerset Magistrates' Court last week and was sentenced to a 12-month community order.

Christine Hart, prosecuting, said that officers were called to an address in Angwin Close on August 17 following reports that someone had been discharging a firearm.

At least two shots were heard to have been fired.

She said: "Wareham was inside his address when the police arrived and he was escorted out of the property and a search was conducted.

"Once outside he admitted he had been outside the address firing his air rifle and should not have done so and after being arrested made no comment during interview."

The court was also told that Wareham was now in breach of a suspended sentence order imposed at Taunton Crown Court as a result of this latest offence.

Neil Priest, defending, said that his client admitted he had an air weapon which was loaded and that he was outside his house demonstrating it to his brother-in-law by shooting a watermelon.

He said: "However because it was not in a private place members of the public were alerted after hearing the discharge of the pellets."

Probation officer Joe Harper said that Wareham had grown up shooting air rifles in fields as a child and had purchased this particular weapon online.

He said: "He had not seen his brother-in-law for about a year and was so excited when he came to visit that he wanted to show him his latest rifle.

"He took it outside and fired it into a watermelon and then went back inside and put it way in its box.

"However the area he had fired it in appeared to be a drying area where residents had their clothing lines and he did not stop and think for a second about the impact it would have upon others.

"He deeply regrets his actions and is aware the weapon will be destroyed and he does not wish to buy another air rifle again."

He added that armed police response units were sent to the scene after reports of shots being fired - and it did not bear thinking about what could have happened if he had walked out of the address holding the gun.

Magistrates sentenced Wareham to a 12-month community order with a 20 day rehabilitation activity requirement.

They also fined him £365 with £85 costs and a £90 victim surcharge and made a destruction order for the air rifle.