A man caught brandishing a knife during a fight in Huddersfield town centre escaped jail – after claiming that he’d found the weapon earlier that evening.

Philip Flaherty said that he picked it up after a drunk man dropped it during a random encounter outside a pub.

CCTV operatives then raised the alarm with police as he was then witnessed waving the knife towards the same man outside St Peter’s Church.

Details of the bizarre incident were revealed at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court where the 24-year-old pleaded guilty to possession of a bladed article in public.

Prosecutor Andy Wills explained that at 11.30pm on April 9 a large group of men had gathered by the church and there appeared to be some altercation between them.

Flaherty was seen on CCTV having an argument with a man in a red shirt and appeared to have something tucked into the back of his jeans.

Mr Wills said: “Police were dispatched while the incident was ongoing.

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“The male in the red shirt went towards the defendant and he then moved his hand from behind his back in a slashing motion towards the male.

“The CCTV operative saw a shimmer of something silver and that caused immediate concern as the other male moved back to avoid being struck.

“It was believed by the CCTV operative that a weapon was being used.”

Flaherty ran from the area and didn’t have the knife on him but police traced his path helped by the camera operators.

A large silver knife was then discovered wrapped in a bandana and discarded on a path he’d run along.

Flaherty, of Primrose Grove in Newsome, initially denied the offence but changed his plea to guilty on the day of his trial.

His solicitor Sonia Kidd explained that earlier that evening he had been out with friends when he was confronted by a man he didn’t know outside a pub.

She said: “The man had some issue with him, he had been drinking and took it upon himself to challenge Mr Flaherty.

St Peter's Gardens
St Peter's Gardens

“During that altercation the male pulled out a knife, he stumbled and dropped it.

“Mr Flaherty wrapped it in his bandana, put it in his back pocket and walked away.”

Mrs Kidd told magistrates that Flaherty then continued his night out and had forgotten to discard it when he came across the same man again.

She added: “The male seemed to be the aggressor and to warn him off Mr Flaherty has taken out something he’s taken from him in the first place.

“He waved it towards him to prevent any further aggression towards him.”

Magistrates sentenced Flaherty to 12 weeks in custody, suspended for a year.

He must complete a 33-day thinking skills programme and up to 10 days of rehabilitation activities.

Flaherty was fined £620 and ordered to pay £165 costs and £115 victim surcharge.