A comic book fan who dressed as a masked ninja to emulate his favourite superheroes and fight crime in his neigbourhood ended up being arrested himself by police.He desperately wanted to be like his favourite superheroes but Tanis Baker’s efforts at fighting crime were more comic farce than comic book.
Patrolling his neighbourhood as a masked ninja to “strike fear” into local villains, it was he who ended up on the wrong side of the law.
The self-styled “eyes and ears” of the right-thinking people was arrested for possession of a wooden sword.
Yesterday the mild-mannered comic book fan told a court he turned to crime-fighting after being mugged by a local gang and bullied at school.
Frustrated that his assailants had got away scot free, he made himself a black martial arts costume complete with body armour and mask.
In an imitation of the film Kick-arse, he then armed himself with smoke bombs and a home-made wooden Samurai sword.
The 21-year-old, who by day was a barman at a snooker hall, then crouched in the darkness in a nearby park ready to pounce on any troublemakers.
Locals, who dubbed him the Ringland Ninja, said his heroic deeds included taking alcohol off under-age drinkers and literally “smoking out” any loitering gangs.
But his crime fighting days were cut short in September when he was spotted by a police officer.
Believing he was carrying a real Samurai sword, the officer called for backup and the police helicopter was scrambled and dog handler was called.
Baker, of Ringland, Newport, South Wales, fled into nearby Beechwood park and hid in bushes near the children’s play area.
He was arrested and led officers further into the park where he had hidden two rucksacks, one containing clothes and the other holding seven smoke grenades.
He told police in interview he was a “vigilante in a costume” and that he wanted to help people in trouble.
He said he believed he was the “eyes and ears” of the police on the streets and wanted to “strike fear” into criminals.
The probation officer who assessed him said Baker was a fan of American comic book superheroes.
His probation report said: “He seems to get confused between fantasy and reality and sometimes had trouble distinguishing between what was in comic books and what was real life.”
The court heard that in real life Baker is no superhero but works as a barman in a snooker club in Newport, South Wales.
Louise Warren, defending, said: “Baker was bullied for many years and struggled growing up in his neighbourhood.
“He was attacked by a gang of youths while out with his sister a year ago, but police were unable to find the offenders.
“Since then Baker has wanted to help the police to protect society.”
The court heard Baker was asked what he would do if he encountered a real crime and said he had not thought that far ahead.
Paul Lavin, the chairman at Cwmbran Magistrates court, said: “You may have thought you were helping but you caused a lot of trouble.
“Do not do this in future or else you’ll be in big trouble.”
He was given a 12-month supervision order and ordered to carry out 60 hours unpaid work. He declined to comment after the case.