A CAREER criminal walked through the middle of Nelson with a samurai sword on a busy Saturday afternoon, a court heard.

Lee Bleasdale, 31, took the weapon, which was in a scabbard, into an Army supply store and tried to sell it, but the manager wanted nothing to do with it.

Burnley Crown Court was told how drug addict Bleasdale, who had been spotted on Scotland Road, had also had three bags with him.

The defendant, said to have spent most of the last seven years behind bars, won his freedom last Friday to try and kick his habit – and it was partly down to a volunteer from Inspire, who told a judge he would be at the end of the phone if Bleasdale needed assistance.

Bleasdale, who will have a mentor from the drugs and drink service, has been on methadone, the heroin substitute, while on remand. He had been given a drugs rehabilitation order by the courts last July, but it was said to have never got off the ground.

The defendant, of Raglan Street, Nelson, had admitted possessing a bladed article on July 5.

He was given six months in prison, suspended for a year, with a year-long drug programme and supervision.