Drunken East Lancs knifeman threatened barmaid after setting fire to wheelie bin

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Drunken East Lancs knifeman threatened barmaid after setting fire to wheelie bin Drunken East Lancs knifeman threatened barmaid after setting fire to wheelie bin

A DRUNKEN knifeman threatened to stab a terrified barmaid after turning up at a pub and setting fire to a wheelie bin nearby.

Burnley Crown Court heard how disgruntled regular customer, Jack Brooks, 21, had been banging on every window at the Victoria Inn on Colne Road in the town in the early hours of January 18.

Police arrived to find him leaning against the blazing bin.

Brooks, of Walsden Grove, Burnley, had admitted possessing an offensive weapon and arson and had been committed for sentence by magistrates.

The defendant, who has 26 offences on his record, was given 12 months in prison, suspended for a year, with 12 months supervision, the Resolve programme and 180 hours unpaid work.

Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said Brooks had been friendly with Kirsty McConnell, the cousin of the pub's manager.

In the early hours, the manager went to see if she was at Brooks' house and he seemed put out by that. She went back to her pub to find her cousin had returned.

The defendant then armed himself with a knife and went to the pub.

Barmaid Tracy Singleton heard him shouting outside and told him to go home. She locked the door.

Ms Singleton looked through the window and saw him holding a knife in his hand above his shoulder. He was shouting: “I'm going to stab you." She was very frightened and closed the curtains.

The bar manager heard the shouting and banging and heard her colleague yelling: “It's Jack. He's got a knife."

She phoned the police and officers arrived to find the defendant leaning against a large, metal, industrial refuse bin and rubbish bags inside were on fire. A small paper fire was also on the ground. Brooks was arrested and handed police a lock knife.

Mr Parker said: “The fire was quickly put out, but clearly had potential."

The prosecutor said the defendant was interviewed and said he had gone to the pub to speak to Miss McConnell and didn't recall producing the knife. He accepted he had had it with him but denied saying: "I am going to stab you."

Brooks accepted he started the fire in the wheelie bin and said he intended to just let it burn out.

Mr Parker added: "He denied intending to burn the pub down or cause harm."

Sentencing, Recorder Andrew Long said he was giving the defendant a chance and said: "All arson offences are extremely serious because fires have a way of getting out of control and terrible tragedies follow thereafter and just because you were drunk is no excuse whatsoever."

But, he added, Brooks had stopped drinking and sought help, his employers thought a lot of him and he was back at home with his parents who, hopefully, were keeping an eye on him.

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