A MAN who said he wanted “to stab a policeman” was arrested brandishing a large knife near Wrexham police station, a court heard.

Matthew Lewis Smith was spotted on the town’s streets heading for the station with the weapon. Several passers-by became were alarmed when they saw the 41-year-old - who had only been released from prison 10 days previously - marching along waving the knife in the air.

When he was eventually arrested by an officer armed with a taser, Smith told him: “How many years will I get for that.”

At the time Smith was living in supported living accommodation in Wrexham. But the court was told that he was not suffering from any mental illness and Judge Niclas Parry told Smith as he sentenced him to 20 months in prison: “All the signs are that you could be a dangerous man and a serious risk to public safety.”

Mold Crown Court heard trouble flared after Smith had attended a probation appointment on October 9 last year. He had served a 14-day prison sentence for an offence of criminal damage.

Prosecutor Sarah Badrawy said that Smith told probation officer Claire Humphreys that he had liked his time in prison so much that he “wanted to go to prison in Manchester for 18 years.”

He told her: “There is no point in this I am going to stab a copper.”

Smith was spotted later leaving his accommodation at Ty Brian in Salop Road and walking past Eagles Meadow shopping centre and the town’s swimming baths before heading for the police station.

“He had a firm hold of a large knife in his hand and was waving it around,” said the prosecutor.

“He appeared to point the knife in the direction of a police vehicle.”

A police sergeant got out of the vehicle and asked Smith to drop to the floor and he was arrested.

Lewis, 41, Ty Brian, Salop Road, Wrexham pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article. His not guilty plea to making a threat to kill was accepted by the prosecution.

The court was told that a full psychiatric report was prepared, but Smith was found not to be suffering from a mental disorder which would meet the criteria for detention under the Mental Heath Act.

Defence barrister John Hedgecoe said: “He is a difficult character in some ways and he is his own worst enemy. He can manipulate people by doing frightening things.

“That was the case to get out of Ty Brian and to get the sort of result he wanted he did this.We have had a talk about knife crime.

“He appreciates things are getting more serious. The ongoing problem that we have for the organisations that care for him is where he is going to live later on,” said Mr Hedgecoe.

Judge Parry added: “You repeatedly threatened you would stab a policeman and on the same day you took a knife from the hostel where you lived and quite alarmingly walked past a large retail park aiming for the police station. An elderly lady was distressed and others who were more hardy were alarmed.”

Det. Sergeant Iolo Edwards of North Wales Police said: “The safety of those who work for the emergency services is paramount. We always take threats against police officers with the utmost seriousness.”