POLICE caught a man carrying a concealed knife with a six-inch blade through the city centre, York magistrates heard.

Kevin Andrew Barnett, 50, had the weapon in a folded jacket over his arm as he walked through Duncombe Place during the afternoon of June 5, said Alison Whiteley, prosecuting.

When police searched him and the fish knife in its sheath fell out, he first denied it was his.

Then he claimed it had been planted on him by two homeless people, possibly working with the policeman who had stopped him.

York magistrates heard that shortly after the incident, Barnett was sectioned under the Mental Health Act.

His solicitor Chris McGrogan said he had been suffering from paranoia at the time.

"It would appear that was the reason why he had the knife on him," he said.

Barnett, a chef of Muirfield Way, Acomb, pleaded guilty to carrying a knife in public.

Ms Whiteley said national sentencing guidelines said Barnett should receive a prison sentence of between three months and a year.

Magistrates told Barnett: "There is no doubt that possession of a bladed article in the circumstances where you were found with a knife is an imprisonable offence."

But he had significant mental health problems that were best treated in the community.

They gave him a 12-month community order with 30 days' rehabilitative activities, saying it was a "direct alternative to custody".

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

"I am very sorry for everything," Barnett told them. "I will work my hardest to make sure I don't appear in front of you again."

Mr McGrogan said since being released from hospital Barnett had been working with the mental health community team and with a psychiatrist to deal with his mental health problems.

Ms Whiteley said police had got a tip-off about Barnett and stopped him in the street.

He told them he was going to the Jobcentre for an interview.