A RAMSEY man who confronted court officers with a garden strimmer when they came to follow up an unpaid fine has been jailed for six months.

A RAMSEY man who confronted court officers with a garden strimmer when they came to follow up an unpaid fine has been jailed for six months.

Gary Wilkes, 57, used the tool to threaten the two men when they came to arrest him on April 29 last year, and shouted a racist comment at one of the officers.

Sentencing him at Huntingdon Crown Court on Friday (April 8), Judge Patrick Moloney told Wilkes: "I suggest that you are a person who only understands one thing, and that's some form of force.

"The legal system has more force than you do."

Wilkes was being sentenced after having been convicted of common assault and racially aggravated harassment, charges which he had denied.

Prosecutor Duncan O'Donnell told the court that the officers from Peterborough Magistrates' Court had gone arrest Wilkes at his Station Road home over an unpaid fine.

"When they arrived, putting it neutrally, Mr Wilkes was not desirous of speaking to them," he said.

The officers had a short conversation with someone else at the house, before Mr Wilkes came out to confront them.

Mr O'Donnell added: "Mr Wilkes came out of the house holding a petrol strimmer, and told the officers to go away, using foul language.

"The strimmer was turned on so that the cutting edge was rotating."

The tool was brandished at one of the officers, who had to take a step back to avoid it, added Mr O'Donnell.

Lawrence Bruce, mitigating, said Wilkes - who has 65 previous convictions dating back to the 1970s - had been "a man of thoroughly bad character in the distant past" but had been avoiding trouble recently.

Wilkes had intended to frighten the officers rather than injure them with the strimmer, he added.

"He was in his garden at the time. The strimmer was for the purposes of strimming. He happened to have it with him when he spoke to the fines officers," said Mr Bruce.

Judge Moloney said the officers had only been doing their job when they turned up at Wilkes' house.

"You threatened them with violence, and you brandished this noisy and potentially very dangerous strimmer at them."

Of the racist abuse, Judge Moloney said Wilkes had been "old-fashioned" rather than intentionally racist.

"All [the officer] was trying to do is his job. He said it made him feel less than a person.

"He should not have to put up with that and his colleague should not have to put up with a strimmer being waved in his face."