A HOMELESS man acted out of desperation to get himself arrested by entering a Tesco store heavily armed in the early hours, a court heard.

James Glendenning Douglas approached a security guard waving a machete at a counter near the entrance to Tesco Extra, in Gilesgate, Durham, at 1am on February 8.

Durham Crown Court was told the guard tried to grab Douglas’ wrist, but released him on seeing a snooker cue in his other hand.

Douglas then walked into the general store area shouting: "Is anyone in Tesco listening to me?"

A nearby shelf stacker fled and the security guard, monitoring Douglas’ movement on in-store security cameras, activated a panic button calling all staff to leave the premises.

Jane Mitford, prosecuting, said armed police summoned to the store found Douglas lying face down and deployed a taser before detaining him as he refused requests to put his hands in the air.

Apart from the cue and machete he was also carrying a football sock containing two snooker balls and a knuckle-duster.

Douglas told police he was "very down" as he had drug debts of £10,000.

He had been drinking and made the decision to get himself arrested, so took the weapons, hidden in a nearby scrap yard, into the store.

Thirty-year-old Douglas, formerly of Sharp Crescent, Gilesgate, admitted affray and four counts of possessing an offensive weapon.

Katherine Dunn, for Douglas, told the court it was "out of character" for a man with limited previous convictions.

"But, he was acting out of desperation. He felt his life had totally fallen apart.

"He’s gone from a family man with employment and the support of friends to losing absolutely everything.

"His life was spiralling out of control and, at the coldest time of year, found himself living on the street."

Judge Christopher Prince said he did not want to sentence Douglas without the benefit of a psychiatric report.

"A lot of people have difficulties in their lives and are forced to live on the streets, yet don’t go into a shop armed with an array of weapons, to the complete shock of staff,” he said.

"I’m not willing to sentence him until he’s been examined by a psychiatrist."

Judge Prince remanded Douglas in custody pending sentence on May 11.