A drunken customer who was seen wielding a machete-like weapon outside Okehampton's only nightclub told police that it was a child’s pirate sword.
James Colseal was seen by door staff at the Pretoria Vaults after fetching the object from a house in North Road and police were so alarmed that they did not approach him until officers carrying tasers were available.
The machete was never recovered but Colseal claimed it was a realistic plastic sword and sheath which he had bought to give his three-year-old daughter as part of a Halloween pirate costume.
The door staff and police all believed it was a full sized machete, Exeter Crown Court was told.
Colseal, aged 34, formerly of North Road, Okehampton, but now living in Swindon, admitted affray and his sentence was adjourned to next month by Judge James Patrick.
He told him that he will only go to prison if the probation service, who are working with him as a result of a later offence in Swindon, say he cannot be rehabilitated in the community.
Miss Emily Pitts, prosecuting, said staff at the Pretoria Vaults called police on the night of August 27, 2021 after seeing Colseal come out of a nearby house with the two to three foot long weapon, and pass them saying ‘don’t mind me’.
Colseal, who had been drinking at the White Hart and Kings Arms, got into an argument in the street during which he was seen to be passing the metallic object from one hand to the other.
He was later seen by two officers in the Lidl car park with the weapon. Miss Pitts said: “He was seen to be waving it about. Neither officer had a taser and so they were instructed to remain in their car and observe him.
“He was arrested and said he had been pushed over in a pub and armed himself with a toy pirate sword which he had bought for his daughter for Halloween.”
Mr Simon Burns, defending, said Colseal had pleaded guilty on the basis that the sword was not a real weapon but that he accepted it may have frightened those who saw it.
He said Colseal’s life has changed since 2021 because he has had a stroke, suffered paralysis in his left leg, is confined to a wheelchair, has carpal tunnel syndrome in both hands and is on strong morphine based painkillers.
He said he is currently on a probation order in Swindon but has missed some appointments because of his ill-health and spent a considerable amount of time in hospital.