Lorry driver with knives spared a stint behind bars

TWO knives and a Stanley knife blade were found on a lorry driver by police after he became abusive towards them outside a pub.

But Paul Thombs escaped being jailed after a judge at Warwick Crown Court heard that he had not produced any of them during the incident.

Thombs, aged 47, of Selwyn Close, Wellesbourne, pleaded guilty to three charges of possessing a bladed article and one of possessing a small amount of cannabis for his own use.

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He was sentenced to 12 months in jail suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work,

Prosecutor Theresa Thorp said that in the early hours of March 3 police were called to the Golden Bee in Stratford where it was alleged a man had assaulted a member of staff.

She said: “While the police were dealing with that, the defendant intervened and became aggressive and raised his fist towards one of the officers.”

He was arrested for being drunk and disorderly, and has since been fined for obstructing a police officer, said Miss Thorp.

But when he was searched after being arrested, the police found a large sheath knife, a lock knife and a grinder with traces of cannabis on it in his pockets.

And when his wallet was checked it contained a Stanley knife blade and further small amount of cannabis.

Thombs said he had just got back from a camping trip and had forgotten about the sheath knife and, while working as a lorry driver, carried the lock knife to get oil and grease from under his nails.

He added that he did not know where the blade had come from, but that he had been doing some work for his sister and it may have come from there.

Miss Thorp added that Thombs had never received a custodial sentence or been convicted for violence.

Gary Cook, defending, said: “This clearly is a serious matter, the possession of knives in a public place, but they were not used to threaten or to cause fear.

“Although his intervention on behalf of his friend was unwise, he did not seek to produce those knives.”

Mr Cook said Thombs had driven HGVs in mainland Europe for 20 years and was away for long periods of time in his own lorry, which would make it impossible for him to turn up on a regular weekly basis to carry out unpaid work.

But he could be ordered to carry it out as an intensive programme of three to five sessions a week for the next few weeks, during which he could pay another driver to cover his work, added Mr Cook.

Judge Alan Parker told him: “While I utterly deplore you carrying something of an arsenal of weapons, I am satisfied you did not threaten anyone with the weapons.”