Armed police confronted a Wester Ross man armed with an AK-47 assault rifle after lorry drivers in a picturesque north-west village fled in terror.
Officers travelled almost 60 miles after hearing reports of the gunman stalking the streets of Ullapool.
He threatened two drivers with the firearm, forcing them to seek shelter in the harbour office before calling the emergency services.
Only when police arrived and armed officers faced-off with him did it become clear the weapon carried by Andrew Partrick was a convincing imitation.
Inverness Sheriff Court was told the troubled 57-year-old had been seeking “death by cop”.
Approached drivers on Shore Street
The drama began about 11.30pm on November 2 last year in Shore Street in Ullapool as Partrick’s first victim was sitting in the cab of his HGV petrol tanker.
Fiscal depute Martina Eastwood said the accused, of St Valery Place, Ullapool, approached the tanker with the fake firearm held across his chest.
The driver thought it was real and contacted the police after Partrick tried to engage him in conversation, “saying something to the effect of ‘take a picture and are you scared’,” Ms Eastwood said.
“When Partrick walked behind the tanker the driver ran to the nearby harbour watch room to seek safety.” Ms Eastwood went on.
The second tanker driver encountered the gunman about 45 minutes later, also near the pier, Sheriff Sara Matheson heard.
He was standing in the roadway but stepped aside as the tanker passed and parked on the pier.
As the driver left his vehicle he saw Partrick two metres away with the barrel of the gun pointing in the air.
“Partrick said ‘are you the driver’ and ‘I’m trying to get the pigs’ or ‘wake the pigs’,” Ms Eastwood said.
“The driver, fearing for his life, engaged him in small talk in an effort to appease him and then took refuge in the nearby harbour watch room.”
Threatened police officers and their families
Ms Eastwood said police arrived fifteen minutes later, to be reinforced shortly afterwards by the armed response unit.
As Partrick walked towards them, they drew their weapons and repeatedly told him to drop his weapon.
“He walked towards them with his arms outstretched, the rifle held by the barrel,” the fiscal depute said.
“They took hold of the rifle and he was handcuffed.”
Later that same day, at Burnett Road Police Station in Inverness, Partrick made a variety of sinister threats to officers after being charged, including “you will be shot in six months time” and “I’m going to burn your kids”.
He also told them that he wanted “death by cop”.
Sheriff Matheson deferred sentence until March 18 for a background report.
Partrick, who appeared by video link and admitted possession of an imitation firearm and threatening behaviour, was remanded in custody