A businessman embroiled in an ice cream turf war threatened a rival with a baseball bat when a long-standing row turned violent.
Barry Champion, 39, who has rounds in Kirkham and Blackpool, chased fellow ice cream man Joshua Bowman before cornering him and threatening him on a Blackpool street - in his wife’s pink ice-cream van.
Preston Crown Court heard how on March 17 this year, Champion’s wife encountered Mr Bowman selling ice-creams from his van in Blackpool.
An argument broke out between the two of them and Mrs Champion, of Westmorland Avenue, Blackpool, told Mr Bowman: “We’ve got two vans now and you don’t like it. You’ll be seeing Barry soon.”
Mr Bowman told Mrs Champion to “shut up” but when the ice cream woman returned home and told her husband, Champion jumped into his wife’s ice cream van and went to find Mr Bowman.
He eventually spotted Mr Bowman’s van and followed him into Cambridge Street, where he pulled in front of his rival’s van and stopped.
If I’m totally honest, I feel scared, anxious and intimidated by Champion.Mr Bowman
Brandishing a baseball bat which he later told police was kept in his wife’s van for “protection”, Champion approached Mr Bowman’s driver’s window, shouting and swearing, the court heard.
Mr Bowman locked himself into the rear of his van but could hear Champion shouting: “It’s a good job we’re in this street.”
The angry ice cream vendor then returned to his van and left the scene.
Mr Bowman said: “If I’m totally honest, I feel scared, anxious and intimidated by Champion.”
He told police he now feels too frightened to continue with his ice cream business and has handed his round over to his mother.
He added he and the other ice cream sellers in the resort get on with each other but he feels scared because of Champion’s “unpredictable” temperament. The court heard Champion had been going through a difficult time in his family life and had “over-reacted” on March 17.
Champion pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon and a public order offence. He received a 12-month community order with 120 hours of unpaid work.
He also made a restraining order banning him from contacting Joshua Bowman.