A thug brandished a meat cleaver towards another man while holding a bottle of vodka, but retreated when his potential victim took his t-shirt off and ran towards him.

Neil Garratty approached a group of people outside the Salvation Army hostel in Heaton Street, Blackburn, and waved the weapon towards them, specifically targeting Andrew McDermott.

Garratty, 37, said he and McDermott had an argument earlier in the day on June 12 and he had returned after finding the meat cleaver on a wall.

Cecilia Pritchard, prosecuting, said the incident happened between 7pm and 8pm and was noticed by one of the support workers at the hostel, who was looking out of the window at an incident in the street.

She said: “The noise captured her attention and she saw a lot of people gathered on a grassy area and a wall, socialising and perhaps drinking.

“She then saw the defendant appear and he pulled a blade out from his shorts and waved it towards the group in an aggressive manner, and specifically towards Andrew McDermott.

“He responded by going towards the defendant and taking his top off. The defendant was still holding the weapon in one hand and a bottle of vodka in the other.

“The defendant backed off and walked away. He later left the area having discarded the weapon behind a wall.”

Ms Pritchard said police officers eventually discovered the weapon and seized it, though it was not until July 17 that Garratty was arrested and interviewed the following day.

CCTV played at Preston Crown Court showed the incident playing out in broad daylight and with a number of other members of the public in the vicinity.

Ms Pritchard added there was a risk of serious disorder and could have caused serious alarm or distress.

She also said the defendant was “inviting trouble” by waving the weapon at the group.

Mitigating, Graham Rishton said Garratty’s “impulsivity and recklessness” was “there for all to see in the footage.”

He said: “I have to accept there is some risk of disorder attached to having an item like that in public, but it is fleeting because upon being confronted he immediately turns tail and begins to run off.

“He accepts his reaction was not acceptable and knows he has to do a better job of controlling his emotions.”

Sentencing, Recorder Katie Jones said Garratty’s “repulsive behaviour” presented a risk to the public and the offence was so serious “only a sentence of immediate custody could be justified.”

She said Garratty’s offending was aggravated by his previous convictions, of which he had 27 from 48 offences.

Garratty, of Fawcett Close, Blackburn, was sentenced to 14 months in prison.