A SUSPENDED jail term has been handed to a man who took a military style knife he had bought to a Whitehaven pub.

John Sloan, 62, of Main Street, Egremont, committed the offence at the Bransty Arch Wetherspoons in Whitehaven on February 5 this year, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

He was sentenced after pleading guilty during an earlier hearing, when he was told he faced the risk of an immediate “minimum term” six-month jail term because he had previously committed a similar offence.

The police version of what happened suggested he had “brandished” the weapon, but Sloan denied that version of events. He said he simply opened the bag in which he had the knife and showed it to a friend so he could admire it.

Police were called to the pub after somebody reported seeing Sloan with the weapon. 

At the pub, police searched Sloan's bag and found the weapon, an eight-inch-long military style hunting knife in a sheath. The defendant told the police that he had just bought the blade.

He did not threaten anybody with it, he said. 

The court heard that Sloan has two relevant offences on his record – weapons offences dating back to 2021 and 2023, when he was given a six-month jail tern suspended for a year.

On the last occasion when he was prosecuted, the court heard he took a small sword to the Whittington Cat pub in Whitehaven. On that occasion also, he had just bought the item shortly before taking it to the pub.

His intention was to show the sword to a friend and then add it to his “collection” at his home. Sloan told the court he was unaware of the seriousness of what he did. In the earlier case, Sloan was said to have used a knife to "scare away" some boys.

The defendant’s defence barrister said that the February 5 offence had been “borderline legal”. The defendant had bought the knife shortly before arriving at the pub.

“It still had the price tag on it,” said the barrister.

In Wetherspoons, he had opened his bag to show it so his friend could admire it. Then a member of staff spotted it as he was walking past.

If he had just gone home with it instead of stopping off at the pub at the invitation of his friend, said the barrister, there would have been no prosecution.

The court heard that the defendant now recognised that he had to be careful and consequently he had got rid of his entire collection, and he would not be buying any more weapons in the future.

If the offence had been committed inadvertently, then that would affect the court’s view on whether there were exceptional circumstances to justify not imposing the six-month minimum term, said the judge.

When Sloan appeared in magistrates, his defence lawyer said there were "some significant issues mentally" with the defendant.

Sloan’s six-month jail term was suspended for two years. The sentence includes 20 rehabilitation requirement days and a £154 victim surcharge.

The knife that was involved will be destroyed.