'FOOLISH' friends armed themselves with weapons after they were threatened with a knife and spat at in Worcester city centre.

Nathan Taylor and Charlie Keating both admitted possession of an offensive weapon (a tyre wrench) in a public place - Angel Place, Worcester - when they appeared before city magistrates on Thursday.

Keating had the weapon tucked down his trouser leg when officers arrived to arrest him but was co-operative, telling police where it was hidden during the incident, captured on CCTV on August 13 thus year.

Taylor, 20, and Keating, 19, also faced a further charge of a public order offence but this was ultimately withdrawn by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Liz Blacklock, prosecuting, told magistrates 'the tyre wrench was not used in any threatening way' and no harm was caused by either defendant using the weapon.

Andrew Wakeman, defending Taylor, asked that he be given full credit for his early guilty plea and told magistrates he had been co-operative with the police on the night in question. At the time he the two friends had been looking for a hat that Keating had lost, he said.

"They were challenged by another group of males and threatened with a knife" said Mr Wakeman. The friends were at one stage pursued by two males from the group back to their car and took the tyre wrenches from the vehicle 'in the event they might be challenged by these males again'.

The solicitor added: "They didn't go looking for the males to exact revenge or anything of that nature. It was a foolish thing to do. Mr Taylor regrets it and expresses that regret to police in his interview and expresses that regret today."

John Rogers, for Keating, said the friends had been at a nightclub in Worcester where his client had lost his hat and he had been staying after closing time to try and find it.

"He was approached by four lads who started giving him a hard time. One threatened to stab him with a knife. One spat at him" said Mr Rogers.

The friends decided to take the tyre wrenches in case they were attacked again because Taylor had wanted to return to the city centre to get some chips. Keating, of Whittall Drive East, Kidderminster was described by his solicitor as being 'totally compliant' with officers.

"He told the police where it was (the tyre wrench). It was hidden down his trouser leg" said Mr Rogers.

Keating had no previous convictions. Taylor, of Green Road, Bewdley had limited previous convictions. The probation officer who interviewed the men described both as 'contrite'.

They were ordered to complete an alcohol abstinence monitoring requirement for 90 days which involves fitting equipment to check they are not drinking. Both were also each ordered to pay costs of £185 and a victim surcharge of £95.

The forfeiture and destruction of the offensive weapons was also ordered.