A SUPERMARKET had to be evacuated after a man took a knife from a shelf, unpackaged it and held it above his head.

Bolton Crown Court heard how former pub landlord Jason Evans had to be threatened by police with a Taser before he put the weapon down.

Judge Graeme Smith ordered that he be electronically tagged and made subject to a curfew for three months after 48-year-old Evans pleaded guilty to affray and possessing a knife in public.

Gavin Howie, prosecuting, told how Roisin Byrne, manager at the Asda store in Farnworth was alerted by staff to a problem on the shop floor at 9.20pm on September 1, 2018.

“They had observed a male with a knife. A knife had been selected, taken from a shelf and the packaging removed,” said Mr Howie.

Ms Byrne found Evans standing in an aisle with a 9.5 inch kitchen knife in his right hand but Mr Howie added that she did not feel Evans was threatening anyone with the weapon.

“She formed the impression he wanted to talk,” he said.

A member of staff asked Evans what he was doing.

“I’m not doing anything,” he replied, adding that he was not going to pay for the knife immediately and refused to leave the store.

When Evans was told that police would be called if he did not put down the knife he replied: “Well ring the police.”

When an officer arrived Evans had the knife above his head.

“He believed there was going to be an imminent attack and so he drew his Taser and warned the defendant to put the knife down,” said Mr Howie.

When warned a second time Evans, who had been drinking, obeyed, stepped away from the weapon and was arrested.

When questioned by police Evans said he did not know why he had gone to Asda and picked up the knife.

“He had no intention to hurt anyone, except maybe himself, he told officers,” said Mr Howie.

Kevin Liston, defending, stressed that married Evans, a qualified plumber and former pub landlord had been suffering from mental health problems.

“Regrettably the exposure, on a daily basis, to alcohol, led to problems - an addiction to alcohol which at that stage he wasn’t willing to face up to,” said Mr Liston, who added that, the month before the knife incident, Evans had sought help for his mental health.

He added that Evans, now of Southern House, Bolton and formerly of Market Street, Farnworth, is now turning his life around after becoming homeless and losing his job.

Sentencing Evans to a community order for 12 months with 20 days of rehabilitation activities and a 9pm to 7am curfew, Judge Smith described his offending as "a cry for help."

He added: "As we know from the news, a large number of people are having to put up with a curfew without electronic monitoring — this is still a punishment whatever is happening in society generally."