A MAN armed with knives threatened police officers on two separate occasions at his home in the early hours, York Crown Court heard.

Alan Waddingham, 43, called police out on September 2 claiming - falsely - that men with axes and knives were at his home and on October 16 claiming he would harm himself, said Heather Gilmore, prosecuting.

On both occasions, he made threats to stab or “do” the officers while holding knives. Each time, he was slurring his words, behaved unpredictably, and appeared to be drunk.

The first time he threatened police with four knives and held a fifth to his throat.

Eventually he dropped or put down all the knives and was arrested.

Judge Andrew Stubbs QC said of the police who answered Waddingham’s calls: “Police officers once again were putting themselves in harm’s way while performing so bravely their public duties.”

Waddingham’s offences merited a direct trip to jail, he said.

However, because of the efforts Waddingham had made since the incidents and because a probation officer feared prison would lead to the defendant's mental state worsening to such an extent that he would need sectioning under the Mental Health Act, he suspended the two-year prison sentence on condition Waddingham does 30 days’ rehabilitative activities and commits no further offences.

“It is essentially up to you to decide if you go to prison or not,” he told Waddingham. “If you turn to drink again, the inevitable will happen and you will go to prison for a long time.”

Waddingham, of Ebor Court, Selby, pleaded guilty to two charges of possessing a knife in public and two offences of threatening a person with a knife.

For him, Caroline Abraham said he had been dependant on alcohol at the time, drinking 18 cans of strong lager a day, and this had caused him mental health difficulties including hallucinations and psychosis.

But since October, he had made steps towards leading an alcohol free life with help from an alcohol rehabilitation agency and his GP and was now drinking two or three cans a week.

“He is motivated and he is determined. He wants a new start and wants to start a new life,” she said. “He is nearly abstinent and is doing as much as he can to achieve that.”