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Canterbury City Council staff warned: 'Give me a house or I'll shoot myself'

A desperate man refused a council house threatened to shoot himself in front of staff at the authority's offices in Canterbury.

The would-be gunman then spat on a desk and shouted that he would use a knife to "cut them and everyone else up" after his appeal was turned down.

Even when police were called he continued to shout and throw items around the room, but fled before officers arrived at the Military Road offices.

A man threatened to shoot himself in front of Canterbury council offices. Picture: Tony Flashman
A man threatened to shoot himself in front of Canterbury council offices. Picture: Tony Flashman

The extraordinary episode sparked a review of the provisions in place to protect staff.

It was revealed in a shocking list of violent incidents reported against Canterbury City Council workers in the last three years.

They include three attacks on traffic wardens, the abuse of an usher by drunken theatre-goers and death threats made against a housing officer.

The first was in October 2011, when a member of the public abused a receptionist after they were asked to sign a visitors’ book at the Riverside Children’s Centre in Canterbury.

Three months later police were called after a traffic warden was grabbed by a driver in Longport, Canterbury.

The motorist had previously been issued with a ticket and demanded to see the officer’s ID number,

The following month another angry driver threw a two-pint carton of milk at a traffic warden in Harbour Street, Whitstable.

The carton split and covered the warden in milk. The driver then snatched the ticket and fled.

In April last year, a street scene officer was grabbed and pushed by a woman walking a Staffordshire bull terrier in Western Esplanade, Herne Bay.

Canterbury council is one of five councils that could join forces. Picture: Tony Flashman
Canterbury council is one of five councils that could join forces. Picture: Tony Flashman

The officer had asked the woman to pick up some dog mess, but she and a man she was with became aggressive, forcing the intimidated council worker to walk away.

Three months later a housing officer received death threats after she told a caller they were not eligible for a council house.

The customer threatened violence several times before saying they would kill the officer. The police were called.

In March this year, a parking warden was assaulted in Watling Street after giving a ticket to a car parked in a restricted area.

The driver pushed the warden away and shoved the penalty notice in their chest before unleashing a barrage of threats.

The motorist then sped off after the warden called for help on the radio.

The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury
The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury

The following month an usher at the Marlowe Theatre was abused by drunken audience members who had smuggled booze into a Soul Legends night.

The incident sparked a security review and will be used for a case study for training ushers.

The latest incident reported was in June, when Whitstable harbour master Mike Wier was assaulted by an unauthorised ice cream trader outside the lifeboat building.

The incident was described as a “recurring issue” as ice cream sellers attempt to cash in during the tourist season.

City council spokesman Rob Davies said: “Although these incidents are relatively infrequent and no one has been physically injured, we take any incident of abuse very seriously.

“All our frontline staff are fully trained in how to deal with difficult situations and abusive people and they have extensive experience in dealing with them.

“All staff will have back up available to them in such situations and we have clear procedures that are taken very seriously."

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