Man was armed with meat cleaver in New Year’s Day disturbance

File picture of a meat cleaver seized by police. Picture: PC Dan Taylor

File picture of a meat cleaver seized by police. Picture: PC Dan Taylor - Credit: PC Dan Taylor

A man who had been marching towards another group of men armed with a meat cleaver on New Year’s Day was disarmed by his friends, a court heard.

A disturbance between two groups was picked up by CCTV cameras in the York Road area of Great Yarmouth in the early hours of January 1 this year.

Norwich Crown Court heard that Jose Da Costa, 37, was seen carrying a meat cleaver in the footage.

John Morgans, prosecuting, said the defendant was “marching purposefully up the hill towards the others”.

Mr Morgans said he was walking “in the middle of the road” towards the other group with the weapon while there were “various other scuffles going on”.

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But he said friends of the defendant intervened, “grappling with him” before disarming the defendant and hiding the weapon under a car.

But police had already been alerted and arrived quickly after before finding the meat cleaver and another weapon - a knife - that had been nothing to do with the defendant.

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Mr Morgans said the defendant was arrested and interviewed by police but “didn’t remember anything” about what had happened.

Da Costa, originally from East Timor but latterly of Wellesley Road, Yarmouth, appeared at court on Tuesday having previously admitted possessing a knife/blade in public.

Sentencing Da Costa to 12 months imprisonment, Judge Andrew Shaw said the meat cleaver recovered by police was a “highly dangerous weapon” and that only a custodial sentence was justified.

He said: “Violent knife crime is getting out of control in this country and the courts cannot tolerate one group of armed men pursuing a second group who may or may not be armed.”

Judge Shaw added: “The courts must send out the message that there’s no place for weapons like these on our streets.

“Those who carry items like these to threaten, frighten or use must expect to be sent to prison”.

Rob Pollington, mitigating, said the defendant was of previous good character and the offence seemed “out of character for him”.

As a result of his 12 month sentence Da Costa will be automatically be considered for deportation at the end of his sentence, although Judge Shaw said that would be for the Secretary of State to decide.

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