An ‘intoxicated’ man who was caught carrying a knife in the street just 12 days after he was given a community order for burglary has been locked up.

Philip Keenan was stopped by the police when they responded to residents’ concerns about a man acting suspiciously and trying door handles as he walked along a street.

The 44-year-old told police that he had taken the knife off a young lad and planned to dispose of it but his excuse failed to impress the judge.

Reece Williams, prosecuting, said Keenan was in an intoxicated state when police found him near Belk Street, Hartlepool, and he refused to give them any details of the person he claimed to have taken the knife off.

He said: “There was a 999 call from a member of the public that a male was attempting to gain entry houses and appeared to be in an intoxicated state.

“During police interview the defendant was asked whether he had a knife in his possession, he said he did.

“He told the police that he had been to a party and had taken the knife off a young person. He was unable to provide details of how long he had been in possession of the knife.”

The court heard the defendant had 74 convictions for 152 offences, including six previous convictions for possession of weapons.

Mr Williams said he had been made subject of a community order imposed 12 days before his arrest.

Philip Keenan, of no fixed abode but formerly of Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article following his arrest in the early hours of March 23 this year.

Stephen Constantine, mitigating, said his client had told him that he had bartered with the young person and persuaded him to hand over the knife in exchange for cigarettes.

He said: “He vehemently denies trying the door handles on properties.”

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Judge Richard Bennett rejected Keenan's knife claim as he jailed him for eight months.

He added: “You provided an explanation why you had the knife, which I reject.

“You suggested you had disarmed somebody else to prevent them committing knife crime – I simply don’t accept that explanation.”

Keenan was told that his community order for a previous offence would continue once he was released from prison.