An unlawful knife was brandished during a heated argument between local window cleaners outside a public house, a court has heard.

James William Howard Paill, aged 49, of Windmill View, Capel Iwan, Newcastle Emlyn, pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon in a public place, when he appeared before Aberystwyth magistrates on Wednesday.

The court heard that an argument started outside the Nags Head Public House, Abercych, on April 4.

Sarah Lewis, prosecuting, said: “The defendant got the knife out of his pocket and witnesses saw him wielding it in a threatening manner.”

Stephen Welch, defending, told the court the implement had several tools, and his client had always carried it in relation to his work in the window cleaning business.

Paill became unable to work with his hands following a skiing accident, and used the implement to help him with everyday tasks such as opening bottles.

Mr Welch said: “He became involved in a argument with the owner of another window cleaning business, that escalated to the extent that the other man’s colleagues appeared on the scene. He made it known that he had the implement and brandished it, but he never intended to use it.”

The court heard that the knife was unlawful because it had a fixed blade.

Mr Welch added: “He just wanted to ward off several men who were in drink. He apologises. He thought what he had was lawful, he was surprised to find it was not.”

Mr Welch added: “The knife was taken out after he had been hit, but he accepts he should not have it on him in the first place.”

Following a report from the probation service, magistrates imposed a six week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, with a community order and supervision requirement.

He was also ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £80 victim surcharge.

A destruction order was made for the knife.