A MAN who flew into a rage about people rummaging through charity bags ended up arming himself with a knife and attacking an innocent person.

A judge told Ian Davis: "People who take offensive weapons out on the street, especially at night and then use them, must expect the courts to pass custodial sentences.

But Recorder Simon Medland, QC said that because of exceptional circumstances he would suspend a 40-week jail term for 18 months.

He also imposed a three-month electronically monitored curfew and placed him under supervision for 12 months.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that about 11pm, on August 13, Stephen Taylor and another friend were walking along Hoylake Road in Birkenhead past a charity shop when they saw a jacket on the pavement.

As it looked new, they decided to take it to the police station.

But they then heard a voice shouting from the flat above calling: "You cheeky ******* get out of the charity bags."

Mr Taylor replied that they were not going through the bags, but Davis threw flour and eggs at him, covering his clothes.

The two men walked off but he quickly caught them up and Mr Taylor saw he was armed with a knife with an eight-and-a half-inch blade.

"He grabbed Mr Taylor's clothes with hands on this upper torso and while placing the knife to his throat said, 'you are going to get it now,'" said Neil Bisarya, prosecuting.

Mr Taylor said later: "I was so scared he was going to use the knife to slice my throat.

"He held the knife to my throat for six to eight seconds and I could feel a huge amount of pressure on my cheek."

Fortuitously, a police officer was driving past, saw the three men, stopped his car and went over.

"The officer saw his face was contorted with rage, his eyes wide open with a fixed stare and breathing quickly. He glanced down and saw a large silver blade," said Mr Bisarya.

He told 29-year-old Davis to drop the knife, which he did and held his arms out ready to be handcuffed.

When quizzed he admitted what he had done and explained he'd had issues with people taking items from the charity bags previously.

Gerald Pachter, defending, said Davis, an educated man who has no previous convictions, had acted completely out of character and was very remorseful.

"He was in a rage at the time.

"He had lived in the flat for quite a period of time and people regularly rummaged through the bags of items for the charity shop. He did not like this and on this occasion took the law into his own hands."

He had complained to police about it on an earlier occasion, but nothing had happened, he added.

He is vulnerable physically and mentally and would have difficulties in prison. He has an aggressive form of MS and may be bi-polar, said Mr Pachter.

Davis pleaded guilty to common assault, possessing a knife in a public place and threats to kill.