A MAN who held police at bay in a five-hour siege had an arsenal of weapons in his flat, a court was told yesterday.

Paul Metcalfe's collection included two high-powered air rifles, two crossbows with home-made arrows, a machete, other knives and a martial arts weapon with chains and nails.

Police spent four and a half hours negotiating with Metcalfe, 23, after he threatened them with the machete in one hand while holding his ten-week-old baby in the other, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Metcalfe pleaded guilty to causing an affray and possessing an offensive weapon at the door of his flat in Raby Road, Hartlepool.

Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said that Metcalfe's partner, Lisa Reed, called police at 7am on July 30 last year after a domestic row, and told them about the arms cache.

When officers approached Metcalfe with CS spray, he brandished the machete and threatened: "I will cut your heads off."

Mr Dodds said the policemen withdrew and the armed response unit was drafted in with a trained negotiator. Metcalfe handed over the baby before giving himself up.

Tim Roberts, defending, said that Metcalfe now accepted that he caused enormous alarm and distress, but he did not realise the gravity of the situation at the time.

When police established a phone link and asked what his demands were he joked: "A million pounds and a helicopter," added Mr Roberts.

Judge Leslie Spittle jailed Metcalfe for 18 months and said: "It was an entirely successful approach by the police. They were not to know how you were to react and they dealt with a dangerous situation in a calm and reasoned manner."

Metcalfe also admitted cultivating eight cannabis plants found at the flat with the weapons and was given a three-month concurrent jail sentence