A KNIFE and a pickaxe were brandished during an afternoon incident witnessed by shoppers and children.

Blackburn magistrates heard police were initially alerted to a man carrying a knife chasing another man down the street in Nelson.

Before they arrived on the scene they received reports of the second man running down the street carrying a pickaxe and arrested former soldier Aaron McKenzie.

McKenzie, 30, of Wood Street, Brierfield, pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.

He was jailed for 21 weeks.

Imposing an immediate prison sentence District Judge James Clarke said there was clearly considerable public concern about the carrying of weapons in public.

“I understand there was considerable build-up but you left your house armed and expecting confrontation,” said District Judge Clarke.

“There was a clear risk of significant injury if the item you were carrying had been used.”

Philippa White, prosecuting, said police found McKenzie sitting on a wall.

The pickaxe was found around the corner, under a car.

CCTV showed him walking down Carlton Street with the implement in his hand.

When he was interviewed, McKenzie said he was very upset when he armed himself with the pickaxe and went looking for the other man.

Asked what he would have done he said: “I would have stuck it in his head like he would have stabbed me.”

Phillip Turner, defending, said his client had been a soldier in the Duke of Lancaster's regiment and did a tour of duty in Afghanistan during which he saw a close friend killed.

“He feels he may have post traumatic stress disorder but in fairness this has not been diagnosed,” said Mr Turner. “His mother tells me and he confirms that he has mental health issues with anxiety and depression.”

He said on the day of the incident his client had been out shopping when a man he had problems with two years ago threatened him with a knife and chased him.

“That was seen by members of the public who reported it to the police,” said Mr Turner.

He said McKenzie ran back to his flat chased by the other man and a female.

They started kicking his back door making threats towards him.

“He didn’t stay and protect his property he fled through the front door,” said Mr Turner.

“When he returned later he found they had broken into his flat and stolen his bike and mobile phone and on the spur of the moment he decided to go out and try to recover his property.

“In view of the fact he had been threatened with a knife he took the pickaxe with him."