A JUDGE has warned a homeless man that his habit of carrying a knife “has got to stop”.

Chay Bignell was given the warning at Winchester Crown Court as he was sentenced for possessing a bladed article – his third such conviction in two years.

Police officers found Bignell with a folding lock knife when they responded to reports of a robbery at the One Stop shop in St Michael’s Road, South Ham, on December 9 last year.

In a three-day trial in April, a jury found Bignell not guilty of robbery and of possession of an offensive weapon. Bignell, 20, of no fixed abode, had pleaded guilty to theft of a can of lager and possession of a bladed article.

Sentencing him to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, Judge Guy Boney said: “I am not without sympathy for your problems, but I am without sympathy for somebody who regularly carries a knife.

“It is not a question of carrying a knife because it’s useful, because all too often a knife carried is a knife used.”

Charles Cochand, defending, said Bignell has suffered mental health problems, for which he is now taking medication regularly.

Mr Cochand told the court that Bignell would go to his girlfriend’s house in Basingstoke, where he had previously lived in her garage, and was keen to be reunited with his dog that he had not seen for seven months while he had been on remand in custody.

Judge Boney also handed Bignell a two-month suspended sentence, to run concurrently with the sentence for the theft of the lager can.