A MAN walked into a bank wearing a Halloween Scream mask and made a shotgun gesture with both hands before asking to open an account.

Staff at the Clydesdale Bank were so alarmed they immediately closed the branch and called in police.

Glasgow Sheriff Court heard how Christopher Cousins entered the bank on Cowgate in Kirkintilloch, on March 26 last year with the horror mask and a baseball cap on.

Depute sheriff Sat Singh told the court how the 39-year-old entered the branch to open a bank account.

Before approaching the counter he took the mask and baseball cap off then pulled the mask back over his face.

Then, looking at himself in the window, he used both hands to make a shotgun gesture before approaching a teller.

Mr Singh said: "Because of the pandemic new accounts could only be set up online.

"Witnesses found the accused to be strange and told him to open an account online when he made a gun shot movement with both hands.

"The bank was immediately closed and police were instructed to attend and viewed CCTV footage of the incident."

Cousins's defence lawyer disputed the order of events and said he made the gesture before approaching the counter.

This narrative was accepted by the sheriff.

Cousins's solicitor said: "He was wearing a mask because of covid, which was a bad joke.

"He was arrested in another bank while opening a bank account, which speaks to the fact that that had been his intention that day.

"He did not set out to cause alarm to anybody, he was just behaving oddly, it was not his intention to cause alarm.

"He is about to turn 40 and his life is not going in the way he was hoping.

"The incident itself is seconds long."

The defence brief told the court Cousins has been on methadone for the past 20 years and does not often leave his home.

Sheriff Jonathan Guy said he had concerns about the criminal justice social work report and whether Cousins fully accepted the ramifications of his actions.

Sheriff Guy said: "He has gone into a bank in a Halloween mask and gestured in the way you describe.

"To anyone working in a bank, you would be seriously concerned.

"He was there to commit a serious offence.

"This was a really serious matter but none of that comes through at all in the report.

"I really don't think he has grasped the precarious situation he is in."

Turning to Cousins, the sheriff added: "I really want to impress to you that this was a really serious offence and easily passes the custody threshold.

"You caused extensive alarm for the people working there and I want this sentence to help you understand this type of behaviour is not acceptable."

Cousins was placed on a community payback order with two years supervision.

He was also given 180 hours of unpaid work to complete within 14 months and he will appear again at Glasgow Sheriff Court in three months for a review.