A ROW between neighbours led to a man threatening to blow up his house and his street being evacuated, a court heard.

At Bolton Crown Court, John Richards, prosecuting, described how on October 15 last year, Simon Hickey, 39, got into an argument with Gabriel Popa after asking him for a cigarette.

Hickey took Mr Popa’s keys from the ignition of his van and threw them across the road into the garden of a house.

He then picked up a plant pot and threw it at Mr Popa’s van smashing the windscreen.

Hickey continued to be aggressive, pushing Mr Popa and asking for a fight and officers were called to attend the scene at Fairbairn Street in Horwich.

Hickey then produced a machete and started threatening the officers and waving the weapon in the air.

A spray was used and a Taser was set off with Hickey shouting: “I am going to get a gun” and running back into his property.

Hickey smashed the downstairs window of his house and shouted that he was going to turn the gas on and “blow the street up”if officers entered his property.

After barricading himself in he told officers he had poured turps over himself and was going to set himself alight.

The decision was made to evacuate the surrounding houses with fire engines, police negotiators and paramedics all attending.

Mr Richards said: “The stand-off continued for a number of hours with the defendant picking up a lighter several times and threatening to burn the house down.”

At 1.20am, a tactical aid unit entered the property and Hickey, who had 41 previous convictions for 63 offences, was arrested.

Nick Ross, defending, said Hickey, who pleaded guilty to affray, criminal damage, threatening violence and possession of a bladed article, had been in custody at HMP Forest Bank for four months.

“There are real and genuine issues with this defendant,” said Mr Ross. “His mental health was deteriorating and he was awaiting an appointment with a psychiatrist the day after this incident.”

Mr Ross said Hickey had written a letter which he read out in court.

“My head plays games with me,” wrote Hickey, who apologised for the incident.

Hickey, of Fairbain Street, Horwich, was given a 14-month jail sentence.

, Judge Graeme Smith, said: “This started as a very minor incident and blew up out of all proportion.

“You have a lengthy history of offending and a longstanding difficulty with the police.”