A DRUNK ‘nuisance' pensioner wearing one shoe and armed with knives made a throat-slitting gesture in a Worcester charity shop before threatening to stab a police officer.

Patrick Niblett hobbled into Worcester Crown Court using a walking stick after admitting possession of a lock knife and a public order offence. The diminutive 79-year-old, previously of Barbourne Road, Worcester entered the Age UK shop in the city's Mealcheapen Street on September 20 last year.

John Brotherton, prosecuting, said there were about 20 customers when Niblett entered wearing one shoe, 'unsteady on his feet' and with speech 'slightly slurred'.

Mr Brotherton said Niblett was 'mumbling' and told Mr Rush, who worked in the shop, that he 'used to box' and 'didn't like gypsies'. The prosecutor asked for an uplift in the sentence to reflect this racially aggravated element of the public order offence. He added: "He raised his fingers to his throat and moved them from side to side. He made a cutting throat gesture."

Niblett pulled out a Swiss Army knife from his right pocket and a folding lock knife. "The defendant was holding both knives, telling him he did not want to buy a jacket he had been looking at" said Mr Brotherton.

Niblett tried to take the jacket off, assisted by a member of staff in the shop. A call was made to the police after Niblett left. He was apprehended nearby, 'shouting obscenities and waving his walking stick around'. An officer took away the defendant's stick to 'prevent him using it as a weapon'. "As he was doing that he said he would take the knife and 'put it in you boy' while making a gesture to stab him," said Mr Brotherton.

Jason Aris, for Niblett, said his client had been diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer and suffered from deep vein thrombosis and heart issues, asking the judge to suspend any term of imprisonment. Niblett was admitted to Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester on December 5 last year and had been in the high care unit before being transferred to an acute medical ward. He had collapsed on the floor of his temporary accommodation in Droitwich, suffering 'significant, irreparable damage' to his liver and a wound to his leg, Mr Aris told the court. Niblett's previous convictions ran over 38 pages, beginning in 1962.

They included 26 public order offences, and seven offences 'against the person' including a section 18 grievous bodily harm for which he served a 42 month prison sentence in 2009. Niblett also has 11 previous weapons offences. Judge Robert Juckes QC added: "The amount of nuisance he must have caused over the years doesn't bear thinking about."

The judge, who described the offences as 'not just unpleasant' but 'frightening', adjourned the case until March 2 for the preparation of a pre-sentence report. Niblett's only bail condition was to co-operate with probation in the preparation of that report.