A former Grenadier Guard who took a 12-inch knife into an Accrington cafe before trying to escape from police on a bike has been jailed.
Anthony Quinn, 57, was spotted with the knife by a staff member at the Victoria Mill Cafe at around 10.30am on August 24 last year, a court heard.
When police arrived they saw him cycling away along Richmond Hill Street on his bike and refusing to stop.
Prosecutor Rachel Faux told Burnley Crown Court how an officer chased after Quinn shouting ‘stop, get off your bike’ before eventually catching up with him and pulling him off.
The court heard how Quinn reached inside his jacket and the ‘officer was concerned for his safety’ so drew a Taser on him.
Quinn then ‘immediately complied’ and when asked if he had a knife told the officer ‘I’m not sure where I have put it. I think I have put it in the garden of my old place’.
However during a search he confessed ‘actually, it’s on my braces’.
Ms Faux heard how Quinn had a 12-inch knife in a sheath attached to his braces and during an interview told police that he had borrowed it from a friend while fishing.
The court heard how Quinn, who served in the Grenadier Guards and then for other armies in the Balkans fighting the Serbs, put the knife in the sheath to avoid accidentally stabbing himself if he had fallen off his bike.
Quinn, who has a house on Nuttall Street in Accrington but spends a lot of time camping in the woods, pleaded guilty to possessing an article with a blade or point.
He also pleaded guilty to two Bail Act offences after failing to turn up to court for sentence on November 24 and January 26.
The court heard how the part-time roofer has 28 convictions for 63 offences including three previous convictions for possessing knives or offences weapons.
Recorder Marc Willems QC said Quinn was subject to a ‘mandatory minimum’ sentence and jailed him for six months.
Sentencing, he said: “Soldiers who fight for their country appear to be let down by the system when medical problems including mental health come and affect you.
“You live a solitary life and you seek quiet and reflective life on your own.
“But I have to take into account that over your lifetime you have committed many offences of varying types. The court has to think about its duty to protect the public.”
Defence barrister Robert Elias said Quinn lives an ‘alternative lifestyle’ and is ‘not a dangerous individual’.
He told the court that the defendant did not have the knife ‘to cause injury or violence or to frighten anybody’.
He said: “He is a man who has been of service to the state and his country as a Grenadier Guardsman for a number of years and then as a soldier for other armies in the Balkans fighting against the Serbs.
“It is a matter of real public concern that soldiers who have fought for their country quite often seem to fall through the grid of civilian life for whatever reason and are not able to adapt easily to civilian life.
“It’s right to say that Mr Quinn spends quite a lot of his time camping or in the country making fires.
“Inevitably those who practice fishing or making fires will need from time to time access to knives.
“You don’t take knives into cafe’s and you don’t strap them onto your body. He has a fixation about knives but comes across as a mild man and is not a threat to anybody.
“He’s someone who is living an alternative way of life but there’s not harm in that if he wishes so long as he obeys the law.”