A young drunken troublemaker has been told to keep his nose clean for six months and not to harass people in his community or risk a 20-month prison sentence.

The challenge was laid down to defendant Isaac Farmer by a judge at Durham Crown Court.

It follows his arrest for making threats to a store assistant, a dog walker and a householder, while in possession of a knife and surgical scissors, in Eldon Lane, near Bishop Auckland, on Saturday June 18, last year.

Durham Crown Court heard he entered the Convenience Store, in Eldon Lane, where he was refused service after being told he was barred.

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Katie Spence, prosecuting, told the court: “He didn’t react well to that”, becoming aggressive and making threats to the female assistant, telling her he knew where she lived and that he would beat up her boyfriend.

Farmer then went outside and spoke to a man walking his two dogs, asking him to go into the shop on his behalf.

As the passer-by had heard the abuse given to the shop worker he declined and was sworn at by Farmer, who brandished a large knife and threatened him.

The pedestrian then went into the store and locked the doors behind to await the arrival of the police.

Miss Spence said a short time later Farmer was seen outside the house of a woman who knew him.

He was making threats to carry out a robbery at the shop, while showing the woman a pair of surgical scissors.

Miss Spence said he knew the woman as the proprietor of a local café and he made threats to her.

Farmer was soon arrested and police recovered the knife and the scissors from him, but he made no comment when interviewed.

The victims of his threats that day made statements to police saying they were variously left feeling anxious and scared for their own safety and that of their family members.

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Miss Spence said the store assistant added that it affected the way she dealt with customers while at work, as a result.

When Farmer appeared before Newton Aycliffe magistrates, last month, he admitted charges of using threatening, abusive or insulting words and behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress, plus having a knife and an offensive weapon, the scissors, in public.

The case was sent for sentence to the crown court, which was told the 23-year-old defendant, of Johnson Street, Eldon Lane, has offences of possessing an offensive weapon, battery, harassment and criminal damage on his record over recent years.

Miss Spence said he received a community order at the magistrates’ court for harassment and criminal damage, as recently as January 25.

Christopher Bevan, in mitigation, told the court: “He realises the serious nature of the offences he faces and the likelihood that the court will consider the imposition of a custodial sentence today.

“My hope is that there are circumstances present in this case making any sentence capable of being suspended.

“The core of this offending and throughout his entire offending history is drink and he tells me the majority, if not the entirety of his offending, is fuelled by drink.

“He’s 23 and with a learning disability. He tells me he was told at one point he has the mental age of a 15-year-old.”

But Judge Jo Kidd told Mr Bevan: “Fifteen-year-olds know they shouldn’t be taking knives out and threatening people with them.”

Mr Bevan agreed and told the judge the defendant told him he suffers with anxiety and, at the time of the offences, he had a girlfriend and they would regularly drink alcohol together.

“But, they have since split up.

“He tells me that on the day of these offences he had drunk ‘bucket loads’ of alcohol and, when arrested, he didn’t even know what he was being arrested for.

“It’s no excuse, but it shows the immaturity and the issues he had with alcohol and how it leads to criminal behaviour.

“He tells me he is regretful for what he did to his victims and say he knows them.

“He wants to apologise to those victims but can’t because of the conditions of his bail.”

Judge Kidd heard that a probation report stated that Farmer was responding well, so far, to the conditions of the community order imposed last month.

She said she hoped that would continue and so she deferred sentencing him for six months.

The conditions she gave him were to keep out of trouble, stop harassing people in his community and to raise £210, to pay each of his victims £70 in compensation.

But she warned Farmer that if he failed to abide by those conditions he would receive a starting point of a 20-month prison sentence.

Farmer pledged to abide by those conditions by the time he returns to the court for sentence, on August 9.

Read next:

               Drunken County Durham man made knife threats to pregnant partner

               County Durham man jailed for 'remorseless' and 'humiliating' violence

               Man with knife and rolling pin walked aggressively through Durham

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Judge Kidd told him: “People living near where you do are sick to death of the way you behave.

“If there’s no more offending, you save the £210 and don’t contact those three people or go in that shop you will be keeping to your side of the bargain.

“Fail, and it will be a 20-month sentence, at least.”