A NEIGHBOUR who wielded a machete at a relation during an argument about loud music has been given a suspended prison sentence.
Tony Rollins, 37, was so drunk during the confrontation he could not remember what he had done, Durham Crown Court heard.
Prosecutor Anne Richardson said a married couple in Cumbrian Way, Peterlee, was threatened by Rollins over the garden fence after complaining about the noise.
Ms Richardson added: “The music stopped at about 1.30am and the couple thought that was an end to it.
“There was then a knock at the door and when the man of the household answered, the defendant shouted more abuse and took a swing with a machete, which missed.
“The woman of the household is Rollins’ cousin. He said later he feared he was about to be assaulted.
“Things have quietened down since, although the woman’s husband says he wants no more to do with Rollins.”
Rollins, of Cumbrian Way, admitted affray and possession of an offensive weapon on September 8, last year.
Stephen Constantine, defending, said in mitigation: “Two former neighbours have written testimonials on his behalf to say that he was a good neighbour to them.
“He has limited previous convictions, and if ever there was a case of ‘beer in, brains out’ this is it.”
The Recorder, Simon Brown sentenced Rollins to 36 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, plus 250 hours of community work.
He said: “I am satisfied this offence was out of character and fuelled by drink.
“Politicians and the press often call for automatic prison sentences for those who carry knives in public.
“I’m bound to observe this case demonstrates the weakness of such an approach.”