A MAN stopped because he was riding his bike on the pavement was found to be carrying a pruning saw in his pocket.

Blackburn magistrates heard Jason Ludlam told police he had been attacked a few months earlier and was carrying the implement for his own protection.

Ludlam, 49, of Bancroft House, Elizabeth Street, Burnley, pleaded guilty to possessing a bladed article in a public place. He was sentenced to six months in prison suspended for 18 months and ordered to pay £85 costs and £128 victim surcharge.

Passing sentence the chairman of the magistrates said that because of the prevalence of knife crime in the country at the moment being caught in possession of a bladed article is a serious offence.

Andy Robinson, prosecuting, said police spoke to the defendant because he was riding a pedal cycle at 9.15pm on the pavement without lights.

"He appeared to be nervous and when they searched him they found a large implement with a serrated blade," said Mr Robinson.

"He said he had been attacked a few months earlier and had it for his own protection."

Gareth Price, defending, said the blade was akin to a saw which his client had actually used to cut up a sofa for a friend.

"He told the police that and he also told them he had the blade for protection. It wasn't on display and was in a casing."

Mr Price said his client had served in the army and was living at Bancroft House which was a facility established by Help For Heroes to provide accommodation for ex-servicemen.

"He was released from prison in December and two days later suffered the death of his 23 year old son," said Mr Price.

"He is receiving bereavement counselling and is also receiving help with the issues arising from PTSD."