A MAN armed with an axe tried to force his way into a house because he believed the people inside had stolen his girlfriend's phone, bank card and driving licence.

Blackburn magistrates heard Jack Thompson was arrested and his behaviour provided a "smoke screen" which meant the other people were not investigated at the time.

Thompson, 23, of Bankhouse Road, Nelson, pleaded guilty to criminal damage to a door belonging to Amy Barnes and possessing an offensive weapon, an axe, in Derby Street, Nelson, on June 22. He was made subject to a community order for 12 months with 20 days rehabilitation activity requirement and 40 hours unpaid work. He was ordered to pay £85 costs and £95 victim surcharge.

Suzeeda Ismail, prosecuting, said CCTV footage showed Thompson approach the address with the axe in his hand. He banged on the door with the weapon and kicked it.

Jonathan Taylor, defending, said Thompson had an argument with his partner and she was sitting outside when she was approached by a female. She said she needed to make a phone call because a member of her family had died and asked if she could borrow the other woman's phone.

"She handed it over and the other woman ran off," said Mr Taylor.

"She followed her to the address which is the subject of the criminal damage charge and alerted the defendant to what had happened. She was desperate to get her phone back because the case also contained her bank card and her driving licence."

Thompson armed himself with the axe before leaving his house because he believed there was going to be trouble.

"He asked them to come out and return the phone but got no response and behaved in the way you have heard about," said Mr Taylor. "He knows he should have contacted the police instead of taking matters into his own hands. He has given the other people the perfect smokescreen.

"He was the one taken to the police station and as a result of this conviction loses his good character.

"He has more than learned his lesson from this and knows it is not the way to behave in the future."