A MEMBER of staff at a Burnley Council contact centre was threatened with a knife by a disgruntled client.

Blackburn magistrates heard Marie Ann Coats pointed the weapon at the officer's abdomen and said; "I'm going to have to get the information somehow."

Coats, 39, of Cumberland Avenue, Burnley, was convicted in her absence of using threatening behaviour and possession of a knife. She was committed on bail to Burnley Crown Court to be sentenced on June 7.

Andy Robinson, prosecuting, said the incident happened in the |Burnley Borough Council contact centre on Harper Lane. Coats had been in the centre seeking advice and was still there when it came to closing time.

"A female member of staff asked her to leave and Coates responded by pulling out a knife and walked into her space," said Mr Robinson.

When Coats held the knife towards her stomach and made the comment about information the member of staff screamed and ran away.

"She was panicking and believed she was going to be stabbed," said Mr Robinson. "She genuinely believed her life was in danger."

Richard Prew, defending, said his client had always denied that she held or possessed a knife. She had missed her trial due to having Covid symptoms.

"I can't disagree that this is at the top of your sentencing guidelines despite the fact she has no previous convictions," said Mr Prew.

"She still denies that she had a knife but she has to be sentenced before she can appeal her conviction."