A FATHER threatened his neighbours with an 'Indian tribal sword' when they rushed into his house after they heard him arguing with his partner, a court has heard.

Philip Bates, of Queens Avenue, Bromley Cross, appeared at Bolton Crown Court via video link on Friday after he was found guilty of affray and assault.

The court was told that Bates, aged 40, was overheard arguing with his partner Joanne Fishwick by his neighbours George and Jennifer Sully and their son Anthony on August 15.

David Lees, prosecuting, said: "Mr and Mrs Sully heard a lot of shouting, some of it in the street and some of it in the house.

"They were concerned about the noise they were hearing and for Ms Fishwick. Mr Sully described screaming and shouting from Mr Bates and heard a scream."

The neighbours went into Bates' house and they saw that he had hold of Ms Fishwick's clothing 'at her chest and neck area'.

Mr Lees said: "Mr Sully tried to calm him down but he didn't and he picked up a long silver sword, described as a cavalry sword.

"It is clearly quite a frightening and scary weapon. It was pointed towards them and there was some suggestion that it was pointed at Jennifer Sully's neck."

Bates let go of his partner, dropped the sword and followed Mr Sully out into the street before another neighbour phoned the police. Nobody was hurt with the blade.

He was arrested and was convicted by a jury in October having initially pleaded not guilty to counts of affray and assault.

James Preece, defending, said Bates, who struggles with mental health issues, had taken diazapam that day and 'was not himself'.

He said: "He lost some control and has committed these offences. As far as the sword is concerned he said it is an ornamental Indian tribal sword.

"He has no history of domestic violence and the complainant says that they never really used to argue. On this particular day, the way he was acting was not really him.

"The defendant is a father. He has three children who are 16, 14 and three and the time he has spent in custody has been difficult for him.

"He is concerned he is not at home. It is clear the substance misuse has led to this offending."

Judge Richard Gioserano sentenced Bates to 12 months but suspended for two years saying it was clear that he had shown remorse for his actions.

He said: "Your neighbours heard what was going on and decided that your partner was the one who was at risk.

"They bravely decided to come to her aid and in response to that was to pick up a sword and threaten them with it.

"Fortunately nobody was hurt but I am sure you can understand that somebody could have been seriously hurt. Someone could have been on the end of that sword.

"But it seems you are reflecting on what you did and have accepted that some aspects of it were serious and very wrong."

Bates was ordered to carry out a 20-day rehabilitation course and 100 hours of unpaid work.