A CHEF at a carvery found in possession of a knuckleduster and a bradawl told police he had them for protection.

Blackburn magistrates heard Arron Adam Melia-Eccles claimed he had been chased by a knife-wielding man earlier in the day.

The court was also told he had a conviction for possessing a blade in 2009 which meant the starting point for sentence was six months in prison unless the magistrates found it would be unjust to impose that penalty.

Melia-Eccles, 27, of Yeadon Close, Accrington, pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing offensive weapons.

He was sentenced to 21 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months, made subject to community supervision for 12 months with 20 days' rehabilitation activity requirement and ordered to pay £85 costs and £115 victim surcharge.

Passing sentence, the chairman said they found reasons that it would be unjust to impose the statutory minimum.

He said Melia-Eccles’ previous offence had been nearly a decade ago and he was not looking for trouble on the night he was arrested.

“It is fair to say that when anyone carries offensive weapons the assumption is they are prepared to use them,” he said.

Andy Robinson, prosecuting, said police had gone to the Old Mother Redcap, Knuzden, where the defendant worked to speak to him about another matter.

They found the knuckleduster and bradawl when they searched him.

Gareth Price, defending, said he hoped to persuade the magistrates that an immediate custodial sentence was unnecessary.

He said the previous conviction had happened nearly a decade ago when his client was working as a roofer.

He had gone out straight from work with a knife, which was a tool of his trade, still in his pocket.

“In certain circumstances that can be a defence but it seems it was not put forward and he was convicted,” said Mr Price.

“There was no suggestion that knife was brandished.”

Mr Price said the most recent offences came after his client had been chased by a man, who he named to the police, who was armed with a knife.

“The items he had were for protection and the hope was he would never have to use them,” said Mr Price.

“I invite you to the view that it would be unjust to send him to custody and that you can suspend a sentence,” Mr Price added.