A TEENAGER who was caught with a cosh and a knife outside Bolton bus station told police he had gone there to help his sister.

At Bolton Crown Court Bradley Fleming, the eldest of 10 siblings who has never been in trouble before, was given a suspended prison sentence.

The case was so serious that it was transferred to the Crown Court from Bolton Magistrates’ Court where Fleming, aged 19, of Elsdon Gardens, Tonge Moor, had pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon and a knife.

Nicola Yeadon, prosecuting, told how police were called to the bus station just before 8pm on January 4 after reports of a disturbance between youths.

“On arrival one male was noted holding an object in his hand,” said Mrs Yeadon. “It is described as a cosh or extendable baton.”

The weapon was taken from Fleming and a locking knife was also found in his jacket pocket when he was searched.

She added that, on CCTV footage, Fleming appeared to be “remonstrating” with a large group of around 20 youths but only brandished the baton, not the knife.

“There were other members of the public around. Some note it and walk round and others effectively walk straight through the group,” she said.

In a statement to police Fleming claimed that he had received a call from his 16-year-old sister saying she and her friends had been attacked in Bolton town centre.

“She was upset, frightened and had asked for his help,” said Mrs Yeadon. “Out of concern for her he says he has left his friends and gone to town to look for his sister.”

Fleming said that a man had run towards him with a cosh and he managed to disarm him and pick it up.

Describing Fleming as “naive”, Nicky Johnson, defending, stressed: “This is an isolated incident, albeit a serious one and he accepts, with hindsight, he should not have got involved at all.

“His gut instinct was to simply go and find his sister and assist her. He doesn’t accept that he attempted to use the baton in any way. 

“He does accept that he remonstrated with the youths with that baton but he doesn’t accept that he attempted to strike anybody.”

Judge Timothy Stead told Fleming: "Anybody using that bus station at 8pm at night would have been very alarmed to see large numbers of young people fronting up to each other.

"You have never been in trouble before. In short, you don't seem to be a bad lad really. It would be a great shame to see someone like you, at such an early stage in your life, with custody in your background."

He sentenced Fleming to six months in a Young Offenders’ Institution, suspended for 12 months. 

He was also ordered to undertake 150 hours of unpaid work and must participate in 20 days of rehabilitation activities.

But Judge Stead warned Fleming that he needs to set a good example for his younger siblings.

"You didn't do that on this occasion, so do better,"  he said.