A RACIST knifeman who threatened to burn down a man's house in the presence of police officers, has been jailed.

The incident in the middle of the night was the second time Paul Richard Nelson had been racist towards the other man while police listened, York Crown Court heard.

He had earlier made a torrent of racial abuse during a 999 call in which he alleged the other man had assaulted him, said Austin Newman, prosecuting.

Nelson's barrister Angus MacDonald said he had "become fixated" on the other man and had been in drink.

"This is a small island and we all have a right to live here," the Recorder of York, Judge Sean Morris, told Nelson.

"People who try to create hatred like this must expect condign punishment."

He jailed Nelson for three years.

Nelson, 56, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to two charges of racially aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress and one of carrying a knife in public.

Three charges of breaching a criminal behaviour order aimed at stopping him behaving in an anti-social way when in drink, which he denied, were left on file.

He has nearly 350 previous convictions, including several for carrying knives and racially aggravated offences.

Mr Newman said a member of the public called out police to a residential street in Harrogate at 2.30am on March 4.

Nelson was shouting racial abuse up at a first floor window where the other man was.

When police spoke to him, he produced a kitchen knife with a nine-inch blade which he held down at his side and ignored a police order to drop it.

They handcuffed him, but he continued to hurl racial abuse at the other man, said Mr Newman.

"I am going to burn your house down, boy," Nelson shouted at the other man, who is an adult.

At the police station, he claimed he had been the victim of an assault by the other man.

On February 21, Nelson had been so racially abusive towards the other man in the same street in the late afternoon, that the other man had responded by pushing him away and Nelson had fallen to the ground.

Nelson was drunk, said Mr Newman.

He dialled 999 and made a series of racial insults about the other man to the police control room operator.

The other man, overhearing what Nelson was saying, also rang 999 to report what had happened to him.

Police went to the scene and Nelson was again racially abusive about the other man.

Mr MacDonald said Nelson had been addicted to alcohol and drugs since he was 13 or 14 and despite trying to kick his habits had been unable to do so.

He was getting methadone and couldn't get alcohol while in prison which could help him put his addictions and offending behind him.