A BUILDER who threatened a taxi driver with a piece of wood in a dispute over a fare could be facing jail.

Graham Banks, 40, had held the plank above his head, screamed and shouted at Zaiynul Sultan and told him: “If you don’t go, I will kill you,” in the trouble outside a Nelson house.

Mr Sultan, who started to reverse down the street, told police Banks then came out armed with a knife and hammer and was banging the hammer on the wall as he walked towards him, Pennine magistrates heard.

The defendant, who claimed his beer had been spiked at an event he had attended, told the court his behaviour had been stupid. He admitted using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards Mr Sultan on June 28.

Banks, of Fletcher Street, Nelson, was committed to the crown court for sentence, on September 1, as he is currently subject to a 12- month community order with supervision, imposed by Judge Beverley Lunt last August.

The higher court had been told how Banks had stolen his mother’s pensioner partner’s £20,000 life savings and faked a burglary to cover up his crime. Banks had stolen a safe belonging to the 72-year-old victim from the Nelson home the three shared and had hurled it in a field and taken the cash.

He then went to Blackpool, where he stayed four days in a £50-a-night guest house and spent the proceeds.

The justices heard how the cabbie picked up the defendant and his partner and dropped them off in Nelson. Both got out and started to walk towards a house, but neither had paid.

Mr Sultan asked the woman about the fare and she said she thought Banks had paid. The victim waited a couple of minutes outside the address, only to then be confronted by the defendant with the piece of wood. Mr Sultan radioed his base, police were called and Banks was later arrested.

The defendant, who was not legally represented, told the hearing he had had three pints and one tasted a bit funny. Banks said: “I felt like I had been spiked.”

He added: “I have never been aggressive after drinking in the past.”