A SENIOR judge has warned that the carrying of weapons was almost endemic in North Wales.

Judge Rhys Rowlands, sitting at Mold Crown Court, said that people who came before the court for offences involving the possession of weapons, brandished in dangerous circumstances, could expect immediate custody.

“The message has to go out,” he said.

The senior circuit judge for North Wales was speaking after he watched CCTV footage of a disturbance in Connah’s Quay High Street one evening in January.

Defendant Maurice Taylor was seen to brandish a metal bar before he retreated into a newsagent’s shop where he was struck on the head with a piece of rock.

Co-defendant Billy Perks was knocked to the ground by Taylor and he ended up throwing a rock at the shop.

A third man – who is yet to be sentenced – went into the shop and struck Taylor to the head, explained prosecutor David Mainstone.

Perks – whose brother died while he was in custody on remand and he was unable to attend the funeral – admitted an affray charge.

The 27-year-old, from Butler Street in Shotton, was jailed for nine months.

Taylor, 45, of Fisherman’s Wharf, Connah’s Quay, admitted possessing the dumbbell bar as an offensive weapon, and he was jailed for 27 weeks.

Judge Rowlands said that it was “a frightening incident of disorder” shortly before 9am on Saturday, January 27.

There had been an earlier incident that day and then in the evening Taylor, with another, went out with the metal bar.

As they were walking along the High Street a further confrontation took place.

The judge said that it started off with Taylor being the aggressor and Perks ended up on the floor.

It continued into the shop, staff were clearly frightened and did not want them there.

Perks threw a sandbag and then a rock from some roadworks at the shop.

A third man not currently before the court struck Taylor to the head inside the shop with a rock.

“This is not going to be tolerated by this or any other court,” he said.

It was aggravated by their previous convictions.

Defending barrister Dafydd Roberts, for Taylor, said that there had been an earlier incident between his client’s brother and the co-defendant.

His client went out armed with the bar to protect himself and it was his case that Parks jumped out of a window at them.

Taylor accepted pushing him, causing him to fall to the floor, and his client accepted producing the bar to threaten, but not to inflict any violence.

He accepted producing it trying to scare two men away.

Taylor retreated to the shop where he suffered a significant injury.

Defending barrister Simon Mintz, for Perks, said that his client did not accept that he jumped out of the window.

He saw himself as the victim when he was thrown to the ground.

But he accepted that he “went over the top” and completely over-reacted.

He had thrown a piece of masonry but was not responsible for the most serious violence, carried out by another man who was yet to be sentenced.

“He knows he did wrong. He went over the top but he did not start this incident,” he said.

Since his remand in custody his brother had died, he had missed the funeral and that was more of a punishment to him than anything the court would do, said Mr Roberts.