A man who threatened a man with a knife after he was slapped across the face following a dispute outside a town centre pub has escaped immediate custody.

Dragoos Stanescu reacted angrily to the slap and went home and armed himself with a knife before confronting the man outside The Gate pub in Darlington.

The 27-year-old’s brother took the serrated knife off him before dumping it in a nearby bin as the accused fled the scene.

Teesside Crown Court heard how CCTV footage of the incident led police to the home of Stanescu’s girlfriend where he was arrested.

Christopher Bevan, prosecuting, said the trouble flared when the defendant and his brother were in the town centre drinking together.

“They were outside The Gate pub when an altercation took place between the defendant and a member of the public,” he said.

“An argument ensued which turned into a physical confrontation when he was slapped.

“He left the scene and returned shortly after with a knife with a serrated edge. He brandished the knife at the man, who ran away, and he chased him with a knife.”

The court heard how the defendant’s brother took the knife from him and put it in a bin outside a nearby Greggs shop.

Stanescu, of Brunton Street, Darlington, pleaded guilty to possession of a knife and using threatening words or behaviour following his arrest on February 24 this year.

Elisha Marsay, mitigating, said her client was of previous good character and had been living in this country trouble-free for several years and only ever intended to scare the other man.

See more court stories from The Northern Echo by clicking here

Get more from The Northern Echo with a digital subscription. Click here

The Northern Echo:

She said the Romanian national worked full-time and regularly sent money home to help out and support his mother.

Judge Deborah Sherwin sentenced Stanescu to six months in prison suspended for 12 months and ordered him to carry out 80 hours of unpaid work.

“You have lived in this country for seven years and apart from this incident you have not been in any trouble – I accept that your behaviour was uncharacteristic,” she said.

“Anybody who takes a knife to an argument risks trouble breaking out and it can escalate and things could get worse.”