Man caught wearing knife necklace near children's play area could face jail

Ipswich Magistrates Court on Elm Street

Mark Ferguson pleaded guilty at Suffolk Magistrates' Court - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A Saxmundham man who was wearing a "push dagger" necklace while drinking cider near a children's play area could be facing jail. 

Mark Ferguson, 34, appeared before magistrates in Ipswich on Thursday and pleaded guilty to possessing a bladed article in a public place. 

Police were patrolling the area around 6pm on Wednesday following reports of anti-social behaviour in Samxundham's local parks, Wayne Ablett, prosecuting, told the court. 

Ferguson was seen sitting near the play park off Warren Avenue in Saxmundham with a large bottle of cider and seemed "slightly intoxicated and dazed", Mr Ablett said. 

The officer asked Ferguson if he had anything sharp on him, and he replied: "Only a knife around my neck." 

Ferguson told police he had the knife for his protection and a push dagger in a sheath, which was around his neck, was seized. 

Ferguson was arrested and immediately told officers: "I've never used it. I have a reason for having it, a bloke threatened me." 

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In police interview, he told officers he had been given the push dagger necklace by a friend and it had been in his possession for about a month. 

The court heard that Ferguson, of Montagu Drive, Saxmundham, had 30 previous convictions for 47 offences, including a previous offence of possessing a knife. 

This conviction means Ferguson could face six months in prison under the 'two strikes' knife possession rule.

David Allan, representing Ferguson, said his client cooperated with police and volunteered the knife to officers. 

Mr Allan said Ferguson believed that because the knife was less than 3in, it was fine to have it on his person after being told this by a friend. 

"It is clear, from what he said to officers and from his actions, that he genuinely did not believe he was committing an offence whilst having this weapon on him," Mr Allan told the court. 

Magistrates felt their sentencing powers were not sufficient and committed the case to the crown court for sentencing. 

Ferguson was granted conditional bail ahead of his sentence, which will take place on a date to be fixed. 

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