A NINETEEN-year-old has been sent to prison after being found carrying a kitchen knife and a mezzaluna – a herb cutting tool with a curved blade – in a town centre.

Ethan Dann was stopped and searched by police on Boxing Day in Darlington as he walked around the town’s Feethams leisure complex close to midnight.

The teenager, of Outram Street, Darlington, was found to be carrying a two-inch kitchen knife and a curved blade in his trouser pocket and was arrested for possessing the dangerous objects.

Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court heard that Dann had been handed a suspended prison sentence for possession of a bladed article less than four months earlier.

Dann, who had been “sofa surfing” in recent months, had also been stopped by police officers on Christmas Day and found to be carrying a knife, but was not arrested.

John Garside, prosecuting, said: “The defendant was stopped on September 26, 2017, for two offences of possessing a bladed article and he was given 16 weeks in total.”

Dann, who had been remanded in custody ahead of his court appearance on Thursday, pleaded guilty to the single charge of possession of a bladed article on Boxing Day.

His solicitor told the court Dann had : “He was found in possession of these items and they were in a trouser pocket – there was no suggestion he had them out or was using them in a threatening or aggressive manner.

“He had been stopped the day before by police and was found in possession of the herb slicer, which I understand to have a small handle with a curved blade at the end.

“There was no further action on that occasion and the herb slicer was returned to him with some advice to not carry it around.

“Mr Dann is very realistic, if not fatalistic – it’s his second offence of possessing a bladed article and it’s right to say he is in breach of an earlier suspended sentence.”

Newton Aycliffe magistrates deliberated over Dann’s sentence for around fifteen minutes before informing him he was being sent to prison for the offence and for breaching his four-month suspended sentence.

The chairman of the bench addressed Dann and said: “We’ve considered everything that’s been said today and you understand the seriousness of the offence.

“We are sending you to prison for a total period of six months on this occasion.

“We could have carried this to crown court and you would have faced a prison sentence of at least nine months.

“So we have taken into account your early guilty plea.”

Dann was handcuffed in the dock and while he was led to custody, the teenager was heard to say: “You’re taking the p***".

The forfeiture and destruction of the kitchen knife and herb slicer was ordered by the magistrates.

Dann must also pay a £115 victim surcharge and £85 in court costs.