A CONVICTED sex offender who threatened to shoot his neighbour, a council worker and a police officer has been jailed.

Pensioner Derek Irons, from Hatton, was put behind bars for the third time in just over a year at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday, February 18.

The court heard that the 75-year-old was sent a letter by Warrington Borough Council's environmental protection team in 2018, advising him to stop setting bonfires on his property on Goose Lane after complaints from neighbours.

Another warning was sent in May last year after further complaints.

On June 6, Irons left a threatening voicemail on the phone of a council officer.

In the message, he said: "Don't send me any more letters saying you're going to fine me.

"All I want to know is who reported me.

"If the policeman comes round here I'm going to shoot, and if you're not careful I'm going to shoot you too.

"I'm definitely going to shoot the f***er who reported me.

"That eagle-eyed t*** is going to get it when I find out.

"I know every f***er in the village, and some f***er will squeal.

"Don't f***ing write to me again."

Described as a 'village menace', Irons became the oldest person in Warrington to be handed an anti-social behaviour order in 2005 after a series of incidents – including attempts to befriend children as they made their way to school and peering through residents' windows.

On one occasion, he even entered a house uninvited and made himself a cup of tea.

The wide-ranging ASBO banned him from starting fires, speaking to women or anyone aged under 16 without their consent and entering an exclusion zone on Hatton Lane.

Warrington Guardian:

Derek Irons outside Warrington Magistrates Court in 2005

And Irons admitted four breaches of this order during last year, as well as sending a threatening message.

In February and June 2019, he was seen entering the exclusion zone by going into a field at the rear of his property.

The former engineer – who ran a business holding government contracts before selling up and retiring at the age of 33 – claimed he had been retrieving a balloon from a horse.

Between April and June, he made five unnecessary 999 – asking the call handler on one such occasion 'if she was bisexual'.

On two occasions, he approached an 84-year-old neighbour he was banned from contacting under the ASBO.

During the first, he told the elderly woman: "Don't less that dog p*** on my property, p*** off and don't mither me again."

She later heard him walking past her property singing her name, leaving her feeling 'intimidated in her own home'.

In May last year, Irons approached a 16-year-old girl in Warrington Bus Interchange and asked her what school she went to, 'if she was courting' and what she wanted to do when she was older.

He later saw her again in the bus station and handed her a note with a love heart and kisses scrawled on it.

His victim was left 'scared to go into Warrington' as a result.

Irons has a stack of previous convictions dating back to the 1970s, including three for drink driving and offences of wounding and making threats to kill.

In 1999, he was jailed for three-and-a-half years for indecent assault.

He was imprisoned in December 2018 and July 2019 for breaching his ASBO, being handed terms of 30 and 26 weeks respectively.

Earlier this week, judge Steven Everett handed him another three years behind bars.

Sentencing, judge Everett said: "The council employee was just doing his job, and you were threatening to shoot him.

"Why should people have to put up with this sort of behaviour?

"This isn't how any reasonable person behaves.

"Some people would say that the best way to describe you is a nasty old man, because this is the way you have behaved for many years.

"You're not just some eccentric, you're a real nuisance.

"You will ask yourself what you did with your life.

"What a terrible way to look back on anybody's life."

Irons’ ASBO has now been discharged and replaced with a new restraining order, which will be in place definitely.

This order prevents him from contacting a total of 16 people, as well as entering an area off Goose Lane.

He is also banned from entering any private dwelling in Hatton without prior permission, including the curtilage, or lighting fires.

Irons must not approach any women or children under the age of 16 or drink in a public place or carry an open container of alcohol, except for in licenced premises.