A man with an imitation gun was arrested as he headed into a post office after he fell over drunk.
Luke Hortop was carrying the fake firearm in the centre of Okehampton but collapsed in the street before he caused any trouble.
He was sent to a drying out clinic by a Judge and told that if he does not tackle his alcoholism he would be dead within ten years.
Hortop, aged 24, of Church Gate, Northlew, near Okehampton, admitted having an imitation firearm, obstructing police and being in possession of a lock picking tool and a small amount of cannabis.
He was jailed for four months, suspended for two years and ordered to undergo alcohol treatment at Broadreach House in Plymouth as a condition of supervision by Judge Barry Cotter, QC, at Exeter Crown Court.
The judge told him:”At the age of 24 you are already a chronic alcoholic. You were drinking to a huge scale and all these offences were committed under the influence of alcohol.
“If you don’t do something about it you are going to kill yourself. You won’t make another ten years. It is like a form of slow suicide to drink that amount.
“Carrying even an imitation firearm is a serious offence and you fell over outside the post office. I don’t know what you were going to do with it. You were not capable of doing very much at all because you were so drunk.
“You were also found with a lock picking device but I don’t suppose you were sober enough to have known how to use it.”
Hortop thanked the judge and told him:”I just want a chance to turn things around. Broadreach is the best thing that has ever happened to me.”
Mr David Bowen, prosecuting, said Hortop was arrested on two different occasions in March and April in the centre of Okehampton.
On the first he fell over outside the post office in George Street, where he was found with an imitation pistol and a small amount of cannabis.
On the second he tried to intervene when another man was being arrested for shoplifting and obstructed Pc Robert Salt, although once again he was so drunk he had difficulty standing up.
He was found with the lock pick in his pocket and told police he had no idea how it got there or how to use it.
Miss Anne Bellchambers, defending, said Hortop could start his rehabilitation course at Broadreach next Tuesday and could stay there for as long as was needed to treat his addiction.
She said he could receive more support from the probation service once he returns to living with his supportive family in North Devon.