Christopher Henderson, 36, raised the weapon above his head near Tesco’s store in Hetton – then warned the officer to mind her own business.
Seconds earlier, the WPC had spotted Henderson, of Elizabeth Street, Houghton-le-Spring, and the woman in dispute, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.
A witness also claimed to have seen another incident between the pair five minutes earlier, at around 11.45am on Sunday, April 10, prosecutor Claire Armstrong said.
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Miss Armstrong added: “The defendant and an unknown female were a short distance away from the officer.
“His voice was raised but the officer couldn’t tell what he was saying but the woman was visibly upset and crying.
“The WPC asked her if she was alright and needed help. He responded by walking towards a nearby bin and pulling out a baseball bat.
“He held it above his head and swore. He said, ‘It’s got nothing to do with you’.
“He was arrested and cautioned. He gave a ‘no comment’ interview.”
Henderson, who has 36 previous convictions, pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon in public.
In a victim statement read to the court, the WPC said she did not expect to be threatened with a baseball bat in a busy part of town.
David Forrester, defending, said Henderson had been assessed by the Probation Service as being suitable for a drug rehabilitation programme.
He added: “It’s an unusual set of circumstances. It’s not his bat, it’s just that someone has left a metal bat in a bin.
“There is a recommendation for an intensive community order. There are all sorts of interventions required.”
Magistrates told Henderson his raising of the bat would have installed fear, even in a police officer.
They sentenced him to an 18-month community order, with nine months of drug rehabilitation and 35 rehabilitation days.
And they fined him £40, with a £95 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.