AN irate disabled man who threatened electricity engineers with a claw hammer, and rammed their van with his motorised wheelchair, has been spared jail.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Kurt Baron, 40, caused almost £2,000 damage to the Ford Transit, which was parked outside his Nelson home.

He had repeatedly crashed deliberately into barriers while North West Electricity engineers Paul Jeeves and Brett Schofield were down a manhole carrying out vital underground cable work, and had almost mowed down a mother with a pram.

Baron had told the engineers: “You have got five minutes to move the van.”

He then appeared wielding the weapon, and threatened one worker.

He ended the commotion, on October 30 last year, by throwing the hammer at the van, being abusive to a police community support officer and stabbing himself with a 12-inch knife inside his home.

Baron, who is confined to a wheelchair after breaking his back falling from a tree, refused to let anyone in, and threatened to put the blade in his neck if police forced entry.

Baron, of Regent Street, Nelson, had admitted possessing an offensive weapon and criminal damage.

He was given a two-year community order, with supervision and the Lancashire Alcohol Specified Activity Requirement.

Miss Lisa Worsley, prosecuting, said Baron, who had a record going back to 1992, repeatedly called out the police and the emergency services, and created havoc in the area where he lived, which was accommodation primarily for the elderly and vulnerable.

Asked by Recorder Anthony Cross, QC, if he would co-operate with probation, Baron said ‘100 per cent’, and added: “Over the last five months, a lot has changed.”

Sentencing Baron, the judge told him: “It’s perfectly plain to me that a significant amount of your problems arise from the fact you fractured your spine when you fell out of a tree.

“That has left you not only wheelchair-bound, but has caused you complex health, social, psychological and mental health problems.”