A MAN who found a knife hidden in a bush was arrested after trying to take it into a nightclub.

Bolton Crown Court heard how doormen at Level nightclub called police after they found the weapon on 22-year-old Joaquim Barros.

Judge Graeme Smith sentenced Barros to three months in prison, suspended for a year and ordered him to undertake 60 hours of unpaid work.

Barros wept and hugged family members as he was released from the dock.

John Richards, prosecuting, told the court how Barros had been searched by door staff going into the nightclub on December 21 last year.

“He was found to have a knife in his possession and he tried to run away but was detained by the door staff,” said Mr Richards.

“He told police he had found the home-made knife in a bush and wanted to keep it because of its unusual design.”

Barros put it into his pocket but forgot about it when he went to meet his partner at the club.

“He stated that he had no intention to use the knife to harm and he ran away from the door staff when he realised the trouble he was in, saying it has ruined his life,” said Mr Richards.

“He was not said to be intoxicated, there is no evidence of any dispute or wanting the knife for self defence, for example. It cannot be argued therefore, that there was a risk of serious disorder.”

Barros pleaded guilty to possessing a knife in public.

David James, defending, stressed that Barros, who came to the UK from Portugal six years ago, is hard working, has no previous convictions and comes from a good family.

“They can’t understand why he would be in possession of such a weapon,” said Mr James.

“He found the knife and was intending to hand it in. He didn’t bring the knife out with him, he found it. It wasn’t his intention to keep the knife at any stage.

“He is devastated by these circumstances and he does not intend to get into any difficulties in the future.”

Sentencing Barros, Judge Smith told him: "I think this case can be summed up in the words of one of your references — this is simply a bad decision on your part.

"It is clearly a serious matter to be carrying a knife in a public place but there is no suggestion it was your knife or you had deliberately taken it.

"You had seen it, picked it up, it is an unusual knifed, a very odd one and for whatever reason you decided you would take it with you.

"The problem is that knives, when taken to a place like you were heading, have the capacity to be used to cause serious violence and for matters to escalate and get out of control."