A man wielding an axe frightened people out for the evening as he ran through traffic in the city centre of Worcester, a court has been told.

Adam Sapwell had taken the axe to confront a pub landlord he wrongly believed had been having a relationship with his ex-partner, Worcester Crown Court was told.

The former landlord of the Albion pub in Bath Road, Wesley Joyce, had gone out for a jog after football training when Sapwell approached him at about 7pm on July 20 this year, Lynette McClement, prosecuting, told the court. Sapwell had previously threatened to attack him and he confronted him outside the Hand in Glove pub in College Street.

Mr Joyce saw him reach under his jacket and take out an axe and was forced to dodge as Sapwell swung it at him, hitting a road sign. Sapwell then ran off, still carrying the axe, towards the Vue cinema in Worcester, dodging traffic, with Mr Joyce and another man chasing him.

He turned and threw the axe towards Mr Joyce, who restrained him with the help of others against a white van. He then bit Mr Joyce on the hand, causing marks and breaking the skin.

Sapwell told police he was angry because he had heard a rumour that Mr Joyce had been involved with his ex-partner, which was not true, Miss McClement said.

"It caused alarm to the public," she said. "One person said it was a shock to see a man running through the city with an axe and others said they had been frightened."

Sapwell, aged 29, of Liverpool Road, Ronkswood, Worcester, had previous convictions for violence, the court heard. He pleaded guilty to affray and having an offensive weapon. The injury was said to be part of the affray and a separate charge of assault was ordered to lie on the file.

James Burke, defending, said it appeared Sapwell only had the axe to cause fear and did not intend to cause injury with it. He said Mr Joyce had realised he wasn't going to use it and had chased after him.

Sapwell had been in jail before but had now reformed and had become a hard-working man, finding jobs with a travelling funfair and as a labourer as well as seasonal work.

He had spent four months in prison on remand.

Judge Toby Hooper, QC, said Sapwell had dangerously thrown the axe away and it could have gone anywhere, causing members of the public to be afraid. He said Sapwell had shown he was capable of hard work and now had a young child with his partner. He was given a 16 month sentence suspended for two years with supervision on each charge to run concurrently. He was also ordered to attend a reducing violence programme.