real alarm | 

'Wannabe gangster' who fled to Ireland after running up street with machete is jailed

'Society is sick of want-to-be gangsters arming themselves with blades and threatening people'

Marius Chitu (19) of Welholme Road, Grimsby, had brandished the weapon in broad daylight

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A “want-to-be gangster” who had fled to Ireland and then Wales after he ran through a Grimsby street armed with a machete has been jailed for one year.

A court heard that Marius Chitu (19) of Welholme Road, Grimsby, had brandished the weapon in broad daylight on a Sunday afternoon.

Customers in the Lifestyle Express shop on Pasture Street raised the alarm around 1.30pm on Sunday, May 2 when Chitu was seen with a blade in the street.

CCTV showed a man with light grey jogging trousers running from the area with a machete in his right hand.

Footage recorded a number of people going in to and out of the shop while a group of men gathered around a car on the opposite side of Pasture Street.

Prosecutor Craig Lowe said: "There were members of the public watching and he appeared to chase someone around the car with a machete.”

He added people ran off chased by the defendant and people came out of the shop to watch.

A description of the armed man was circulated to police officers in the area. PC Fell and PC Bee spotted the defendant running towards Ladysmith Road and PC Fell drew his taser and threatened to fire it.

Chitu laid down and surrendered as police discovered the machete down a leg of his tracksuit bottoms. They also found two mobile phones, a grinder and crack cocaine.

Chitu had no previous convictions, the court heard. Mr Lowe told the court Chitu was arrested in Wales in March, having visited Ireland previously, after failing to attend court in November.

Chitu admitted possession of a blade in public and possession of crack cocaine with a street value of £450 which he claimed was for his own use. Chitu also admitted failing to attend court at a previous hearing.

Ben Hammersley said his client had had a difficult childhood and was subjected to persistent racial abuse growing up in Grimsby. "That is why he carried a machete - it was for protection. That shows his lack of maturity."

He said he was using crack cocaine once or twice each week but did not accept he had a drug problem. His family continue to support him, the defence barrister said.

Mr Hammersley said Chitu worked hard and earned £250 a week working in a factory and a friend has opened a car wash and tyre business and will employ him when he returns to a working life.

Judge Michael Fanning, presiding at Grimsby Crown Court told Chitu: "Society is sick of want-to-be gangsters arming themselves with blades and threatening people. Members of the public contacted police. There was real alarm from the people that saw this."

Sentencing him to 12 months in prison for possession of a blade, the judge said: "It is to protect the public and send a signal that people who are caught with knives there is only custody. It is significant you have never troubled the courts before - you have gone from zero to 100."

The judge also imposed a month in prison for the failure to attend court to run consecutively. A further month in prison was added concurrently for possession of the drugs.

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