A MAN who was caught with a meat cleaver hidden up his sleeve in Rotherham Town Centre has escaped an immediate jail term.
Craig Whitehead (35), of Lindley Street, Eastwood, was caught by police with a silver-coloured meat cleaver on Effingham Street on March 21.
He was found guilty of possession of a bladed article following a trial at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court and was sentenced today (Monday) at the same court.
Mr David Marshall, prosecuting, said Whitehead had been walking to the probation office in Rotherham when someone saw him with a meat cleaver and contacted the police.
“He had it secreted up his sleeve when the police turned up,” he said.
He said Whitehead was convicted of possession of an offensive weapon in 2001, triggering the ‘two strikes’ rule, meaning he should be jailed immediately for at least six months unless the court deemed it to be unjust.
Mitigating, Ms Hester Russell said Whitehead’s conviction in 2001 involved him whacking a wall with a pool cue for which he received a 12-month conditional discharge.
She said he had not been using the item to cause any alarm or distress.
Ms Russell said Whitehead was "in a much better place now" and had a stable address to go to.
“What he needs is a proper period of stability,” she said.
District Judge Paul Healey gave Whitehead a six-month jail term suspended for 12 months.
He ordered him to complete nine months of drug rehabilitation and made him subject to an eight-week curfew.
Mr Healey said possession of a knife was a serious offence, but he would suspend the sentence because of the support available to him and the length of time since the previous offence.
“There’s a lot of people looking out for you and hopefully this will be a new start for you,” he said.
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