A man has been spared prison after being found with an eight-inch knife in public.

Darren Sutherland, 55, of Whitegate Road, Southend, was arrested by Essex Police officers in Southchurch Road on July 21.

He was found to be in possession of a large kitchen knife with an eight-inch blade and red tape around the handle.

Sutherland was charged with possession of a bladed article in a public place and appeared at Southend Magistrates court on September 24.

The 55-year-old pleaded guilty and was handed a four-month prison sentence which was suspended for 12 months.

The chair of the bench stated the sentence was suspended because the defendant had no relevant convictions and pleaded guilty at  the earliest opportunity.

Sutherland must also pay £200 in costs and fines.