A POLICE officer who attended a report of a break-in was threatened by a man brandishing an eight foot metal pole.

Blackburn magistrates heard the confrontation was brought to a rapid conclusion when the officer set his dog on the aggressor.

Anthony Sanderson, 27, of Oaklands Avenue, Barrowford, was convicted of assault after a trial in his absence. He was made subject to a community order for 12 months with 10 days rehabilitation activity requirement and a four week curfew between 8 pm and 7 am. He was ordered to pay £100 compensation to the officer.

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said the officer went to investigate a reported break-in at 3.17am. He was searching the area with his police dog, Zorro, and became aware of someone nearby.

"He shouted at him to show himself and then saw the defendant walking towards him holding an eight foot long pole," said Miss Allan. "He shouted at him four times to drop the weapon before sending in his dog. Zoro took the defendant to the ground and in the course of that he suffered two puncture wounds to his bicep."

Sanderson told the probation officer preparing a pre-sentence report he accepted he may have been threatening although he didn't believe that amounted to an assault. He said he had been rooting through skips looking for food.

Daniel Fraser, defending, said his client claimed he didn't know it was a police officer.

"He says all he heard was shouting and he didn't know who it was," said Mr Fraser. "The dog was deployed and the incident ended immediately."

He said Sanderson had been out of trouble for four years and appeared to have turned a corner in his life.