A MAN who was having a psychotic episode after smoking cannabis brandished a kitchen knife at firefighters and threatened police with a “bomb” that he was “wheeling down the street”.

Preston Crown Court heard how firefighters had been called to the home of Michael Allen Pinder at 7pm on December 10, amid reports that a man was inside with his clothes on fire.

Prosecuting, Karen Brooks said Burnley station watch manager Damian Hartley was on his way when he received further information to proceed with caution because there was a man in a garden with a gun.

When crews arrived, the front door of the house in Cog Lane, Burnley, was locked but 35-year-old Pinder opened it and told Mr Hartley that the fire had been extinguished.

Ms Brooks said that Mr Hartley, having made it clear he would have to check the fire had been extinguished, asked Pinder where the man with the gun was.

Pinder pointed to the rear yard of the property and said there was a man with a fluorescent jacket and a gun.

Ms Brooks said: “The defendant stated he had set the fire to attract the attention of the emergency services so that man would depart. The fire officer, as he looked into the rear yard, could see only a dog running around. So he became aware there were some concerns regarding the defendant.”

When Mr Hartley accompanied Pinder upstairs he looked in one of the bedrooms and could see a pile of clothes which had been on fire. There was a lot of smoke which needed to be cleared with an extractor fan.

Pinder then began smoking cannabis and when Mr Hartley asked him to extinguish it, the defendant became agitated and demanded the firefighters leave.

Ms Brooks said: “Efforts were made to persuade the defendant that help was required to disperse the smoke. The defendant stated he didn’t require any help, he didn’t want to hurt anyone but he had a knife in his possession.”

Firefighters immediately left but Pinder later followed them out with the knife.

He pointed at them and said: “Pick a number,” and repeated again that he had a knife.

Pinder then grabbed hold of the firefighters’ extractor fan and started wheeling it down the street.

As Pinder turned onto Bristol Street he was approached by PC Katrina Wozniak, who he told to stay away.

Ms Brooks said Pinder walked into a ginnel and shouted to PC Wozniak: “I have a knife and if the police come towards me I will defend myself.”

Because of a lack of street lighting in the ginnel, PC Wozniak used a torch to keep track of Pinder.

As Pinder turned on the fan, he shouted towards her: “I have explosives. Don’t come near me. You’re in the firing line.”

Pinder was persuaded to drop the fan and the knife after a second police officer arrived and was arrested.

He told police he had started a small fire because voices had told him to do so and there were men in the yard, including one with a revolver. He accepted having the knife but he wanted the firefighters to leave the house for their own safety. He said he didn’t want to harm anyone, he thought the fan was a bomb and he wheeled it away to minimise the risk to anyone else.

Pinder, of Cog Lane, Burnley, who has 38 convictions for 72 offences, pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour with intent and possessing an offensive weapon in a public place.

Defending, Mark Stuart said: “The defendant has had mental health difficulties for some time and he is not assisted if he takes drugs rather than his medication.

“The offences were undoubtedly the result of a psychotic episode at a time when his mother had gone away on holiday for a fortnight. It’s not without significance that whilst he’s spent some time under the Mental Health Act since his last conviction, it is some time since his last conviction and he has spent some time in the community without any problems. That’s because he was living with his mother, she was making sure he took his medication. She went away and I’m afraid things went wrong.”

Describing the incident as “very alarming”, Judge Sara Dodd jailed Pinder for 10 months.