A FAMILY was left terrified after a stranger burst into their home, pulled out a large knife and threatened to fire bomb their house.

Drunken Gary Smith had been planning to visit a relative but got the wrong house on Sloane Street and walked in though the unlocked front door.

Instead of admitting his mistake 39-year-old Smith refused to leave and became abusive as householder Bradley Hesford tried to push him out of the terraced house.

Smith yelled, "I'm going to petrol bomb the house" before pulling a large, saw-like knife from his bag and waving it towards the family.

"I have never felt that level of fear in all my life," said Mr Hesford's wife, Lauren in a statement read at Bolton Crown Court, adding that their petrified three children had witnessed the incident, when it spilled out into the street, from an upstairs window.

In court Richard Orme, prosecuting, told how Mr and Mrs Hesford were settling down to play an online quiz in their home on the evening of April 18 when a stranger walked in.

"Bradley Hesford pushed him out of the front door and the defendant, at that point, apologised saying, "I might have got the wrong house".

But then Smith refused to allow Mr Hesford to shut the door, insisting instead that he shake hands.

The dad agreed but then Smith "turned nasty" and told his shocked victim, "I'll f***ing t*** you anyway".

Smith then pulled the knife from a bag and told the couple: "I am going to petrol bomb your house. I'll f***ing kill you."

Mrs Hesford began to scream and her husband pushed her into the house to protect her.

"The defendant adopted a fighting stance with his fists clenched while bouncing on his feet," said Mr Orme, who added that the victim, who feared being attacked, struck out, punching Smith three times to the face.

As Mr Smith got back inside his house he saw Smith pull out the knife again and heard him threaten neighbour Rihannon Watson, who had also asked him to leave, telling her "I'll f***ing petrol bomb your house too."

The court heard Ms Watson and Mrs Hesford were pleading with Smith as the knife was being swung towards them during the 20 minute incident, telling him: "We have children."

Smith, who has 43 previous convictions, including three for possessing knives, walked off and police found him minutes later. They recovered the knife from a grid where he had been spotted dumping it by a member of the public.

Smith, of Netherfield Road, Bolton, pleaded guilty to making threats to destroy property, assault and possessing a knife.

Mark Friend, defending, said Smith had been drinking that night and had no intention of using the knife, which he carried for protection.

"On this particular evening the defendant had simply sought to attend at his relative's home address, nothing more sinister than that," he said.

"But having got the wrong property, what then followed, the defendant accepts, was entirely unacceptable.

"He completely over reacted to what was an entirely ordinary situation and made it extraordinary.

"It is the source of deepest shame that he finds himself again in custody."

Judge Timothy Stead jailed Smith for 27 months and made a restraining order banning him from going to Sloane Street or contacting his victims.

He told Smith that the knife was "a wicked weapon to be carrying.

"It is said the children had seen what was going on and they were crying and physically shaken as a result of what happened."