HOUSING association maintenance workers investigating a leaking soil pipe were confronted by a furious tenant holding a knife, a court heard.

Lindsay Thomas, prosecuting, told Bolton Crown Court how Andrew Lightbown and Stephen Gray, who work of Adamas Irwell Valley, went to a property in Bradford Street, The Haulgh, on the afternoon of April 24 following reports of a bad smell and leak.

But as the two men examined the soil pipe in the back yard of the flats, they were confronted by 45-year-old Michael Arthur.

Mrs Thomas said: “The defendant kept saying to Mr Lightbown that he knew how to fix the problem.”

Someone inside the property handed Arthur a bread knife to use to cut down a washing line, but then he returned to the workmen and, following an argument, he picked up the knife again, then swore at them and told them to get off his property.

“Mr Lightbown said he started to shake and he was very concerned for his life,” said Mrs Thomas, who added that the workman was so unnerved that he has now requested body armour from his employer.

When arrested, Arthur, who has previously served a prison sentence for two offences of assault, told police he had been having a bad day and was under stress when he confronted the workmen. He pleaded guilty to using threatening behaviour.

Duncan Phillips, defending, said Arthur has been warned he could be evicted and has had to give undertakings about his future behaviour.

He added that he has also been to the housing association offices in an attempt to apologise to his victims.

The pipe has not yet been fixed, and Mr Phillips said: “To that extent he is the author of his own misfortune.”

Recorder Raymond Herman described Arthur’s behaviour as “disgraceful”.

He added: “This is a man who clearly has problems managing his temper.”

Arthur was sentenced to do 80 hours unpaid work and will be subject to supervision by the probation service for 12 months.

He must also take part in the Peaceful Solutions Programme, together with paying a £60 victim surcharge.