Burnley Crown Court heard how Wajid Hussain, 29, then living at an upstairs flat in Clayton-le-Moors, was said to have had a confrontation with the two teenagers, who lived in the flat below.

He then brandished the knife and threatened to cut them with it, as a horrified neighbour cleaning his car watched the early afternoon rumpus in terror.

Hussain, who has almost 30 previous convictions and has been to jail for robbery and attempted robbery, admitted affray and possessing an offensive weapon. The defendant, now of Bicknell Street, Blackburn, received 26 weeks in jail, suspended for two years, with 12 months supervision and the Controlling Anger and Learning to Manage it programme. He must pay £100 costs.

Sentencing, Judge Jonathan Gibson told the defendant: "This was a knife with an eight inch blade. Its inevitable I pass a custodial sentence."

Sarah Statham, prosecuting, told the court on the morning of the incident Hussain had thrown a bed frame down the stairs to prevent the two teenagers going upstairs and there had been some kind of altercation.

Hussain picked up the dagger and chased both the young men out into the street. He was seen by a man cleaning his car at 1.15pm and he reported the defendant had the knife raised in an aggressive manner, shouting after the pair: "I'm going to cut you." They managed to run away. Hussain then tried to slash the tyres of two pedal cycles. The witness was scared and alerted the police.

Miss Statham said the defendant then simply went into the premises and when officers arrived, he was standing at one of the downstairs windows. Police arrested him and recovered a knife from the floor of his lounge.

He was questioned and told officers the two young men had gone into his flat when he was asleep. He claimed they had dropped the knife and he was responsible for chasing them into the street. He had 27 previous convictions and in June last year had been convicted of violent disorder after arming himself with a weapon. His licence ended in February.

Martin Hackett, defending, said it was accepted Hussain had a poor record for offences of public disorder, but he had not been looking for problems that day.

He had found the two young men in his flat. He accepted he chased them out and he had the knife and was brandishing it.