AN elderly 'menace' armed with knives who made a throat-slitting gesture while stating he hated gypsies has been spared jail.

Patrick Niblett used the racist language in Age UK in Mealcheapen Street, Worcester and was arrested nearby with two knives. The 79-year-old who had been living in a guest house in Barbourne Road, Worcester had already admitted possession of blade in a public place (Broad Street, Worcester) and a public order offence. The 5ft 2ins pensioner, also caught with a knife in 2017, looked frail as he hobbled into Worcester Crown Court with the aid of a stick, accompanied by his carer.

Andrew Parker, prosecuting, said Niblett entered Age UK wearing one shoe and a single open-fingered glove on September 20 last year. "He stated he did not like gypsies while running his finger across his throat" said Mr Parker.

Niblett was clearly heard to say 'slit their throats' and when police were called the defendant was found in possession of a Swiss Army knife and a lock knife. Niblett, who has 138 convictions for 236 offences, was described as being 'verbally abusive' in front of members of the public before his arrest.

Niblett has served several custodial sentences which Judge Jim Tindal said was 'water off a duck's back' and added: "Probation have washed their hands of him."

"What on earth am I going to do with Mr Niblett?" he said.

Speaking to Niblett directly he said: "You are a menace. You behave very badly to people. You carry a knife when there is no reason to carry a knife and you behave in a way that frightens people."

Describing what Niblett said as 'prejudiced' and 'racist', the judge sentenced him to eight months in prison suspended for two years and placed him on a curfew between 8am and 1pm and between 5pm and 8pm daily for the next three months. The curfew will not be electronically monitored.

He further ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the knife and the payment of £100 towards costs.