A Penryn man who was arrested for possession of a 10 inch hunting blade told his solicitor he used it to kill rats and eat them.

David Stanway, 53, of Higher Market Street, was arrested on December 13 at Truro Bus Station after police were informed that a man had been seen with a knife.

After the arrest Stanway was searched and police found a 10 inch hunting knife tucked I inside his trousers as well as a small pen knife with a locking blade in his pocket.

Paul Simons, defending, described his client as a "pathetic individual" and "alcoholic" and added that he had concerns about his clients mental health.

Mr Simons told the court that Stanway had been carrying the knife as a "force of habit" while he had been sleeping rough.

He said: "Mr Stanway lived in a tent for about four months and he told me that he used to have a rat come and visit him, he said: 'I used the knife to catch, cut his head off and have him for breakfast'."

Mr Simons added: "When he is faced by adversity he raises his shield and that shield is alcohol. This was a very silly thing to do as it was a very public area of the centre of Truro to be carrying a knife."

Magistrates told Stanway that he had come very close to custody but gave him a two year community sentence where he would be supervised and put on an alcohol recovery programme.

They also ordered that the weapons be destroyed and that Stanway should pay £20 in prosecution costs.