A MAN convicted of carrying a bladed article in public for a fourth time claimed he forgot he had the craft knife in a pocket, a court heard.

But a judge told Paul Longthorne he was “sceptical” as to the validity of his explanation and jailed him for just under five months.

Durham Crown Court was told the defendant’s long list of previous offences include possessing a knife in public in 2006, 2009 and 2016.

Robin Turton, prosecuting, said Longthorne was approached by police in the Market Place, Durham, on June 21, as he was wanted on suspicion of burglary.

He was searched and the craft knife was found in a coat pocket.

Longthorne told police he bought it as he was wanting to make things and forgot he had it with him that day.

But the 44-year-old defendant, of Wood Street, Spennymoor, admitted possessing a knife or bladed article when he appeared before magistrates the following day.

Due to his previous record for such crime, the magistrates sent the case to the crown court for sentence.

Andrew Finlay, mitigating, said there was a six-month minimum sentence for repeat offenders, but due to his early admission Longthorne should receive discount.

“Effectively this was a case of forgetfulness, as he was doing work with it, and had it in his pocket, but simply forgot about it.

“He hasn’t taken it out or used it to threaten anyone and wasn’t under the influence of any substances.

“He’s under probation supervision for an unrelated matter and the Probation Service feel there is work they can do with him.

“He has also spent a month in custody awaiting sentence and is concerned if he remains in custody any longer it may put in jeopardy his private rented accommodation.”

Mr Finlay urged Judge Jonathan Carroll to allow Longthorne to continue to work with the Probation Service in the community.

But, passing a sentence of 146 days in custody, the judge told Longthorne: “You’ve had every single opportunity and warning to understand that carrying knives in public leads to custodial sentences.

“I can be highly sceptical that you simply forgot you had a knife given your track history.

“Given that history, it must be a prison sentence.”

The judge also issued a forfeiture and destruction order relating to the knife.