A REPEAT offender who “strutted” around a Pontypool street with an axe threatening to embed it into the head of a man he held a grudge against was sent to prison.

Christian Atkinson, 33, was spotted heavily drunk and wielding the weapon on March 14 after the man had previously reported him to police for stealing his wheelie bin which he used to store tools, a court heard.

He was seen walking towards others on Llandegfedd Way in New Inn “with an axe in his hand”, prosecutor Tony Trigg said, saying he was looking for a certain man. Mr Trigg told Cardiff Crown Court Atkinson said: “I’m going to put this axe through the side of his head.”

Mr Trigg added: “The witnesses say they felt frightened and scared. Some of the witnesses were youths. One of the youth’s fathers came out of his house and confronted the defendant about the axe. The defendant then tucked the axe up his sleeve and repeated the threats to Mr Drinkwater, who fortunately wasn’t present. Police were called and arrested the defendant.”

He added Atkinson, whose address was given as HMP Cardiff, had been prosecuted after he was seen dragging the wheelie bin up the road, and the target of Atkinson’s ire had put up posters describing him as a thief.

Atkinson, who has appeared in court 42 times for 98 offences, was sentenced for a string of other crimes at the hearing. He also racially abused a shopkeeper at the Premier store in New Inn, the court heard, after the Asian proprietor Mohemed Naeem refused to sell him alcohol early in the morning because licensing laws would not permit him to do so. Reacting angrily, Atkinson shouted and called him names in front of his wife before leaving the shop. Later that day he dialled 999 and spoke aggressively to the call operator, calling her stupid when she said if he wanted to hand himself into police he should go to Newport Central police station.

Judge Rhys Rowlands also sentenced him for possession of amphetamine, which he was found with after police saw him fall from a second floor window.

In a separate incident on March 6 this year Atkinson burgled a garage on New Road, New Inn, the court heard, taking £40 of curtain poles. He was arrested shortly afterwards, equipped for his task with a hammer and pair of gloves.

On March 15 he was spotted “clearly intoxicated” in the street, Mr Trigg said, and that night smashed the window of a Ford Mondeo walking away with its stereo as well as its tax disc and a mobile phone adaptor which were found discarded in his front garden.

Steve Thomas, mitigating, said: “There was no actual violence used. The person to whom the threats were directed was not there. He had the axe in his possession temporarily. This is not somebody who routinely carries a weapon around the streets, a knife or something, in anticipation of violence. He did say in interview, “I wouldn’t have used it but I wanted to threaten him with it”. Regarding the racial abuse, he said: “He didn’t specifically go into the shop to racially abuse the victim. He did in fact leave the shop when he was told to do so by Mr Naeem. He has expressed remorse. Drugs and alcohol are clearly a longstanding problem for him.”

Atkinson pleaded guilty to all of the offences except racially aggravated harassment, for which he was convicted after trial. He was given 12 months in prison for possessing the axe in public, nine months for racially aggravated harassment, four months for burglary and two months for theft of a stereo, all to run consecutively and coming to a total of 27 months. He was also given a four months for using threatening behaviour, to run at the same time.