AN elderly 'nuisance' who had a knife in a Worcester street was branded a 'huge expense' to the courts after he failed to turn up to be sentenced.

Patrick Niblett was supposed to be sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on Wednesday. The 79-year-old, living in a guest house in Barbourne Road, Worcester, had already admitted possession of a bladed article in a public place (Broad Street, Worcester) on September 20 this year.

Martin Butterworth, defending, said his client did not have a phone. No pre-sentence report had been prepared by the probation service. He suggested his instructing solicitor who 'knows him (Niblett) of old' may be able to take a stroll down to the guest house in Barbourne. He said: “I think it’s fair to say that the probation service have doubts about whether they would be able to engage with Mr Niblett.”

Judge Nicolas Cartwright said: "That doesn't surprise me given his antecedence."

The judge said the knife Niblett was found with was not a traditional sort of lock knife and more of a folding pocket knife with a safety mechanism to stop the knife folding back.

Mr Butterworth said Niblett's medical records ' do not suggest to me any significant medical condition' but said there were things on the record which suggests 'other issues'.

He added: "He currently does attend A&E in Worcester very regularly. It seems, from what I can see, he's getting a cup of tea and sent away. Until he's here it is difficult to know where we can go.

"He has of course pleaded guilty to being in possession of an article with a blade which I supposes this item is."

The judge said the legislation covers bladed articles other than folding pocket knives with blades under three inches.

"My own view is it's more likely to be a folding knife that happens to have a mechanism for locking the blade out as a safety feature," he said.

He said such knives were sold at French markets in large quantities and many people had them in a kitchen drawer or a toolbox. Judge Cartwight adjourned the case to see if there was any authority about the knife, adding: "I'm not going to issue a warrant not backed for bail. This elderly gentleman is a nuisance and a huge expense to the criminal justice system and the NHS as well."

The case will be heard again today (Friday).