A BUILDER who threat-ened a taxi driver with a piece of wood in a fare dispute while subject to a crown court order, has been spared jail.

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

Mr Sultan, who started to reverse down the street, told police Banks then came out armed with a knife and hammer as he walked towards him, a court had earlier been told.

The defendant, who had claimed his beer had been spiked, told the court his behaviour had been stupid. He admitted using threat-ening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour tow-ards Mr Sultan on June 28.

Banks, of Fletcher Street, Nelson, had been comm-itted to Burnley Crown Court for sentence, by Pennine magistrates, as at the time of the latest offence, he was subject to a 12-month community order with supervision, imposed last August.

On Monday, Banks received three months in jail, suspended for a year, with nine months’ supervision and 80 hours unpaid work.

Last August, the crown court had been told how Banks stole his mum’s pensioner partner’s £20,000 life savings and faked a burglary to cover up his crime.

He claimed he had found two men raiding the property. Banks had stolen a safe belonging to the 72-year-old victim, 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 little of the proceeds.

The justices heard earlier how the cabbie picked up the defendant and his partner and dropped them off in Nelson. Both got out and began to walk towards a house, without paying.

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 be confronted by the defendant. Mr Sultan radioed his base, police were called and Banks was later arrested.