Preston man jailed for 5 months after being caught with a knife by plain clothes police officers
A 44-year-old Preston man has been jailed for nearly five months after plain clothes police caught him in possession of a knife.
Michael Rawcliffe, 44, of Stefano Road, pleaded guilty to possession of a knife in a public place and has been sentenced to 18 weeks in prison.
He said he had been carrying the knife for protection because he feared being attacked by a gang in New Hall Lane.
He was arrested after plain clothes officers spotted him hiding in a ginnel near the junction of New Hall Lane and Samuel Street at around 8pm on Friday, December 21 last year.
The undercover officers had been tasked with proactively preventing violent crime and knife crime in the area by patrolling in plain clothes.
They had spotted Rawcliffe behaving suspiciously in a ginnel and he was asked whether he had any weapons on him.
He told the officers that he was not armed with a weapon, but admitted to having a lock knife in his pocket for his "self-protection".
He claimed that he had been harassed and chased by a group of men in New Hall Lane some weeks earlier.
Rawcliffe was detained and searched by officers and the lock knife seized at the scene.
At Preston Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, June 18, Rawcliffe pleaded guilty to possession of a knife in a public place.
He was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £115 and costs of £85.
Sergeant Tom McNicholas of the South Division Target Team said: "This is another good result for the community of Preston. Lancashire Police and the local community will not tolerate people carrying knives and offensive weapons in public places.
"We will use uniform and plain clothes officers to disrupt and arrest those who choose to do so.
"There is a myth that carrying a knife makes you safer when in fact evidence shows that by carrying a knife you are putting yourself in more danger.
"Despite Mr Rawcliffe’s suggestion that he was carrying the knife for protection due to a previous incident this is not a defence and does not make it acceptable. Hence the custodial sentence he received.
"If you have any fears for your personal safety then you should contact the police immediately.
"If you have any information of people within the community carrying knives or weapons in and around your streets you can contact Lancashire Police on 101 or you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111."