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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Carlisle judge queries man’s knife excuse

A man caught with a knife after trouble at a Cumbrian holiday village has claimed it was left over from his job at a food factory.

But a judge at Carlisle Crown Court was sceptical of the excuse after hearing that Lee Francis Burns had left that job three weeks before the incident.

Now Burns, 27, is going to have to give evidence to support his claim that he was carrying the Stanley knife for an innocent purpose.

His lawyers are also likely to ask his former employers in Manchester to confirm that he might have had good reason to still have the knife in his possession.

Burns, of Lees New Road, Oldham, was arrested after a disturbance at the Solway Holiday Village in Silloth on August 16.

The knife was found when police officers searched him after arresting him.

He pleaded guilty to charges of affray and having an article with a blade in a public place.

No details of the incident were given in court.

But his barrister Keith Thomas said there was no suggestion that Burns had waved the knife around or threatened anyone with it.

“This is at the very bottom end of an affray – there is no suggestion of actual violence and the like,” he said. “It is in fact words and behaviour more than anything else.”

Mr Thomas said Burns should be given credit for having kept out of trouble for so long after being released from a lengthy prison sentence in December 2010.

Judge Paul Batty QC said he was faced with “a stark choice” between sending Burns to prison or giving him a suspended jail sentence.

He said he could not decide until hearing evidence about why he had the knife.

Burns will be back in court on December 3.

He was remanded in custody.

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