A HOMELESS Carlisle man threatened a food delivery driver with a knife because he refused to buy a car part.

Matthew Adam Neale, 45, who was on crutches at the time, made the chilling threat as his victim was standing chatting to a colleague outside the city's Crown & Mitre Hotel talking to another driver.

It happened at 7.30am on April 22 this year, prosecutor David Farley told the city's crown court. The defendant's bizarre behaviour had its roots in a brain injury Neale sustained in a climbing accident.

Neale, previously living at a Botchergate hotel, admitted threatening a person with a blade and possessing a blade.

Mr Farley said the defendant had been in the area, walking on crutches, when he approached an Uber driver and asked him for a lift home. "He refused," said Mr Farley.

Neale then asked the driver for money to buy a scratch card and this too was refused.

"The defendant then tried to sell him a car part but [the Uber driver] wasn't interested.

"But he then became uncomfortable with the situation and got out of his car. He was told that the car part would cost him £180 but he again said that he wasn't interested.

"As this happened, the defendant produced a knife from his jeans and said: 'If you don't give me money for the turbo part, I will give this to you."

Fearing he was about to be stabbed, the driver ran away and sought refuge in a nearby sandwich shop.

At this point, Neale wandered off and went into the Citadel Barbers in the city centre. Staff there called the police after noticing the knife sticking out from the defendant's jeans pocket.

The court heard that Neale's previous convictions included offences of weapon carrying and harassment.

Tim Evans, defending, said Neale was 'really sorry' for scaring the victim.

The barrister said that defendant felt that being in prison had helped him, allowing him to get education and painting activities.

The barrister pointed out that at the time of the offence Neale had been on crutches, wandering around Carlisle city centre as he asked person after person for money.

Judge Nicholas Barker described his behaviour in April as 'bizarre.'

But the judge accepted that Neale's offending behaviour was linked to his brain injury and the resulting mental health problems that caused.

He jailed the defendant for 10 months, but pointed out that Neale had already served half of the time he would need to be kept in custody. He was likely to be released in two and a half months.