An anti-fracking protester who had a lock knife at York Magistrates Court has been ordered to do 160 hours’ unpaid work.

Christopher Stuart Wilson, 56, who at the time was based at the protesters’ camp near Kirby Misperton, was attending the court in connection with a case involving himself and another member of the anti-fracking group on December 14.

He pleaded guilty to carrying a lock knife and thereby breaching a conditional discharge imposed eight days earlier by Blackpool magistrates for obstructing the highway near another potential fracking site in Lancashire.

He was fined £100, ordered to do 160 hours’ unpaid work and pay £85 prosecution costs and an £85 statutory surcharge.

A spokesman of the anti-fracking Kirby Misperton Protection Camp said: “This protector always carries a knife for practical purposes living on a protection camp.

“On the day of the offence he left to attend court, forgetting he had the knife in his pocket, and on arrival immediately presented it to the security guards, who then notified the police.

“Bringing this small slip of the mind to trial has been a bizarre use of public resources, especially as other protectors have been allowed to leave pocket-knives with the security when attending York Magistrates Court."

It is an offence punishable by up to four years in prison to have any knife in a public place unless it is a folding pocket knife with a blade less than three inches long.

Everyone entering or leaving the courthouse is searched for potential weapons and has to go through a metal detector.

There is a notice at the public entrance warning that security staff will confiscate anything that could be an offensive weapon including knives, and if appropriate, they will refer any item confiscated to police.