A MAN seen by Chester CCTV operators carrying a large kitchen knife in the city centre has been handed a suspended prison term.

David Highton, 50, of Lansdown Road, Broughton, appeared at Chester Crown Court on Thursday, June 16, having previously pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity to possession of a bladed article and drink-driving.

Prosecuting, Oliver King said it was just after midnight on March 27 when CCTV operators showed Highton walking to door staff at Off the Wall and was involved in a brief remonstration.

He walked away from the scene and was then seen to take out a large kitchen knife from his inside jacket pocket, to then put it up his sleeve.

Police were alerted and stopped Highton on his moped. Police said Highton appeared under the influence of alcohol and he produced a reading of 54 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath, compared to the legal limit of 35.

It was accepted that while the case summary had implied Highton had shown the knife to door staff, CCTV evidence showed Highton had walked away from the scene and was facing away when he took out the knife.

The court heard Highton had no convictions as an adult.

Defending, Michael Scholes said a pre-sentence report and character references had been submitted for Highton, who was "effectively a man of good character" and was "deeply remorseful" for what he had done, knowing that a possible jail term would have "awful consequences for his family".

Highton had been out celebrating a friend's 50th birthday that night at Off the Wall when he placed a drink on a speaker and was told to remove it by bar staff. When Highton did not move the drink, he was "dragged out of the premises" by security.

The defendant was "angry and upset" and, having gone home, returned on his moped to the scene, where he "spoke to the door staff because he felt wronged", and accepted he had the knife in his possession at the time.

The knife had, Highton said, been concealed in the moped.

"It was just crazy of him," Mr Scholes added.

Judge Simon Berkson, sentencing, said: "We have seen on the CCTV it was a long kitchen knife with a long, silver blade, and you decided to approach the security staff outside the [Off the Wall] establishment.

"The only reason was that you had some problems with the security staff and went to remonstrate with them.

"[Reading the case] one may have got the impression you brandished the knife, but that was not the case. You did not produce it to them, but it was still in full view of other people. You did pose a danger to other people in Chester city centre that night.

"What happened to that knife, we do not know; perhaps you had the good sense to dispose of it."

The judge added that Highton's offending was "very much out of character".

Highton was handed a six-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. He must carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and pay £300 costs. For the drink-driving offence, Highton was fined £600 and banned from driving for 12 months.