Topless syringe man threatens to petrol bomb Blackpool pub and "watch it burn"

An aggressive man who threatened to bomb a Blackpool pub was caught with an open capped syringe in his hand.

Martin Rhodes, 34, of Furness Avenue, Blackpool, is starting a 21 week jail term after he admitted possessing a weapon, resisting police officers, and a bail offence.

Martin Rhodes

Martin Rhodes

Preston Crown Court heard he was "fixated" with needles due to a mental health issue - and had at times injected with water.

On June 30, Daniel Woodward, a doorman at the Dutton Arms on South Promenade Road, Blackpool, saw Rhodes approaching the pub.

David Clarke, prosecuting, said: "At 8.35pm he was working when he saw the defendant walk across the road from the nearby McDonalds.

"He clearly wished to enter the pub but was refused entry because first of all he didn't have a T-shirt on, which is against the pub's policy, and also when he turned away he noticed he had an uncapped syringe in his right hand

"He had concerns the reason he wanted to come in was to, in his words, 'shoot up' in the toilet.

"The defendant walked away and approached a homeless lady, and she handed the man a jacket. He came back and made a second attempt to enter the pub but once again was refused entry.

"At this point the defendant suddenly became aggressive."

The court heard after hurling abuse at the doorman Rhodes shouted: "I'm gonna come and petrol bomb this place tonight and watch it burn."

Police arrived a short time later and saw Rhodes near a car park close by.

Officers took hold of both his arms and could see the syringe in his right hand.

He then resisted arrest and refused to drop the needle.

Police had to apply "pressure points" before handcuffing him.

The court heard other officers had to intervene because members of public were filming the incident on their mobile phones.

Rhodes was found to have a large bag of syringes in his trouser pocket.

He admits possessing an article which had a blade or was sharply pointed, namely an open cap needle, resisting a PC, and a bail offence.

The defendant has 80 previous convictions for 128 offences, including having a blade in public in 2003 and 2014, and his recent offence invokes new legislation to impose a minimum of six months custody for weapons offences.

Julie Taylor, defending, said: "There is no suggestion he ever threatened anybody with that needle - he unfortunately got into an altercation while it was in his hand."

Recorder Charles Kennedy QC said he had regard to the recent new guidelines and agreed while the offence was serious, Rhodes did not attempt to use it as a weapon

He said: " This is the first time you have been before the courts for two years - however your appearance is a serious one.

"Your demeanour was aggressive and you made threats you would bomb that pub."