AN ALCOHOLIC who was spotted walking around Leigh town centre with a knife attached to a stick has avoided being sent to prison.

Bolton Crown Court heard how Nicholas Taylor, 32, was found by police officers close to Leigh Library with a piece of wood with a knife taped to it which was sticking out of his jacket above his head.

David Farley, prosecuting, said members of the public had contacted police after they had seen Taylor "with a can of drink and a home-made weapon" at around 9.20pm on Friday, April 24.

Two officers were sent to investigate and found Taylor on St Mary's Way with a 3ft long wooden stick with a knife attached.

Taylor was arrested and held overnight before giving a "no comment" interview but later pleaded guilty to having a bladed article in a public place.

Mr Farley said that in August 2019, Taylor, of Church Street, Leigh, received a community order after he tried to provoke police officers into arresting him after he had become homeless.

Taylor, who had contacted the police himself, barged officers and kicked out at them during the incident.

Betsy Hindle, defending, said Taylor, a father of two, had turned to drink in 2018 after splitting with his partner.

He was working in a food factory but his drinking escalated and he lost his job, his home and car and became homeless.

Ms Hindle said Taylor lost the support of a homeless charity during the coronavirus pandemic and he began drinking again.

Judge Timothy Stead said he was persuaded to give Taylor one more chance despite him being in possession of a "wicked looking weapon".

Judge Stead said: "You have obviously got a demon where drink is concerned and you really just cannot afford to do it or you will end up in prison."

He handed Taylor a six month prison sentence suspended for two years with a nine month alcohol treatment course and 25 days rehabilitation activity requirement.

"This is your last chance," added Judge Stead.