A TEENAGER who threatened two police community support officers (PCSOs) with a knife before throwing it at one of them has been jailed for three years.

Ryan Preston – branded a menace to society by his own barrister – was told by a judge: “Heaven knows what would have happened if she hadn’t ducked.”

Teesside Crown Court heard how the Darlington teenager has been in trouble since school, when he started drinking alcohol and taking drugs.

He has previous convictions for burglary, being drunk and disorderly, assault and attacking a police officer, prosecutor Shaun Dodds told the court.

On September 30 last year – while on bail as a burglary suspect – Preston approached the two PCSOs as they spoke to children in Darlington town centre.

He jumped off his bike and pulled out a kitchen knife which he brandished, before lunging towards the officers shouting: “Come on, lock me up.”

Mr Dodds said: “Not surprisingly, the youngsters ran off screaming... despite their experience in their jobs, the officers feared for their lives.”

Preston, 19, known to the wardens, hurled the knife towards one of them, she dodged it and he fled on his bike.

He admitted affray and possessing a bladed article, as well as handling stolen goods on May 28, and breaching a suspended prison sentence.

The suspended term was imposed for burglary days before he was arrested for selling a stolen computer console and games to a second-hand shop.

The electricals were taken during a break-in at a house in Newfoundland Street, Darlington.

Judge Peter Fox told Preston: “The fact that you might have been on drugs at the time doesn’t give you the slightest excuse.

“You have got your life ahead of you and, if you want to make something of it, you need to put this long record behind you.”

Jim Withyman, mitigating, said Preston, of Cartmell Terrace, Darlington, had a “destructive” childhood. He said the three months Preston had spent on remand had “made him realise that with this lifestyle he will spend ever longer in prison”.

“When sober and not under the influence of drugs, he is a pleasant young man. However, when in drink and on drugs, he is clearly a menace to his community,” he added.