MADCAP Huddersfield eccentric Jake Mangel Wurzel has escaped a prison sentence for brandishing a knife at a group of boys.
Mangel Wurzel, 69, appearing in court as Thomas Henry Erasmus Occupier, was given a conditional discharge by a judge in Preston.
He broke down in tears after being handed the sentence at the city’s Crown Court.
The court heard that Mangel Wurzel, of Peace Pond, Salendine Nook, lost his rag during a camping trip with a friend in Ullverston, the birthplace of Stan Laurel, in July last year.
Ian Dacre, mitigating, said: “They had been dogged by a group of young boys playing football for the previous two days.
“It was the culmination of annoyances.
“He lost his temper, picked up a knife he had been using to tether his dogs, brandished it in the air, and shouted “I will stab that ball”.
“He accepts that in behaving in that way he might have frightened those young lads.”
Mr Dacre added: “Mr Occupier is an eccentric but an eccentric who has warmed the hearts of folk in Huddersfield, if not of folk further afield.
“He is not a man who believes in violence and he regrets his behaviour on that particular evening.”
The court heard that Mangel Wurzel was a man of some ability.
He had done a four-year apprenticeship in engineering and worked for the royal military police.
Mr Dacre said: “He is a man of some talent despite the buffoonery that surrounds him.”
Judge recorder Paul O’Brien told Mangel Wurzel the recommendation was to force him to do unpaid community work.
But he said: “We feel in the circumstances that there is some doubt as to whether that would be appropriate.
“We want to impose a sentence that will be a constant reminder and hang over your head for the next two years.”
After imposing the two-year conditional discharge, Recorder Paul O’Brien advised him to go to his dogs which he had left outside the court.