A MAN who was the victim of an attack by several people was then arrested for having a knife in his bag.

Police found a fishing knife in Kevin Angus MacLean’s shoulder pack - it is illegal to carry such a knife in public and the 53-year-old had committed a similar offence 33 years ago, Cathy Turnbull, prosecuting, told York magistrates.

Under laws aimed at curbing knife crime, anyone caught carrying a knife for the second time in public faced a mandatory six-month prison sentence.

Andrew Craven, mitigating, said the law also said magistrates could change that if they felt locking his client up would be unjust.

Magistrates decided MacLean could keep his freedom and gave him a six-week nightly curfew.

They also ordered him to pay £85 prosecution costs and an £85 statutory surcharge.

MacLean, 53, of Tuke Avenue, Tang Hall, pleaded guilty to carrying a knife in public.

Ms Turnbull said police arrested MacLean in Dale Street off Nunnery Lane, York, at 10pm on September 15 following a disturbance there involving local residents.

In his shoulder pack they found a Batman knife with two short blades of different lengths.

Because one of the blades could lock into position, he couldn’t carry the knife in public.

Mr Craven said several people had attacked MacLean, but he hadn’t reached into his bag for the knife to use it to defend himself or attack anyone.

He had forgotten he had it with him, he added.

MacLean used it for cutting twine and other jobs when fishing and had put it in his pack the last time he had been fishing, six weeks earlier, the court was told.

The police had accepted he had been a victim of an assault and had not charged him in relation to the fight, said Mr Craven.

But before taking a witness statement from him they had arrested him, which had led to him being searched and the discovery of the knife.

Mr Craven said MacLean had suffered a series of recent family bereavements, including the death of his twin brother Adrian.

Magistrates heard MacLean had last been before the courts in 2007 when he was jailed for four years for supplying Class A drugs.

He had not been in trouble with the police since.