A man armed himself with an axe and set about ‘scaring’ people in a shop to get himself arrested, a court heard.
Alan Hymas, of Hood Street, Accrington, went into the Cambridge Superstore in Padiham with the weapon shortly before 10pm on March 31 this year and told the boss to clear the shop.
Burnley Crown Court heard how Hymas then allowed the shopkeeper and a customer to report him to police as he waited inside as he wanted to get arrested due to financial problems.
Michael Knowles, prosecuting, told the court that Hymas ‘wasn’t issuing any threats’ and when officers armed with tasers arrived and told him to put the axe down he complied.
When interviewed by police, Hymas told them that he was carrying the axe ‘with the intention of scaring people so he would be arrested’.
Hymas, 47, pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon and was given a six-month jail sentence, suspended for two years with a 40-day rehabilitation activity requirement.
Probation officer Mr Peter Slater, who interviewed Hymas, said the defendant drank three litres of cider every day and is suffering from ‘serious emotional issues’.
He told the court: “Until shortly before this incident he had a job working at Holland’s Pies for around six weeks on an agency basis working full-time.
“He assumed that it was going to be a permanent or long-term position.
“He then received a text message from the agency to say it was only going to be two days a week.
"That caused an awful lot of issues as he couldn’t pay his household bills and was panicking about losing his accommodation.
“When he’s faced with difficulties he very often behaves in a very irrational way.
“He doesn’t think things through, he works himself up and gets hyper and his mind starts racing.
“This isn’t the first time he has tried to get himself arrested and escape to the sanctuary of prison where everything is looked after for him.
“Giving him an immediate custodial sentence would be giving him what he wants and would perhaps encourage him to do it again in the future.”
Recorder John Bromley-Davenport QC said Hymas acted in a ‘very bizarre way’ and that the victims, albeit not harmed, would have been ‘undoubtedly alarmed by what they saw’.