A MAN released from hospital in the earlier hours smashed the window of a Subway sandwich shop and grabbed the till from the counter as he made his way home on foot, a court heard.

But, David Webster did not get far carrying the cash register, however, as, by the time he reached the end of the street, he was seen by a police officer.

Durham Crown Court heard he threw it away and was arrested.

Lewis Kerr, prosecuting, said Webster left hospital in Durham, intending to walk home to Chester-le-Street, as he had no money, early on November 24.

Passing the Subway shop in the Front Street, in nearby Framwellgate Moor, he picked up a piece of wood and smashed the display window, at about 5.30am.

Mr Kerr said there was no money in the cash till taken by Webster, but it did contain several Subway vouchers.

Following his arrest and police interview, he was bailed, with an 8pm to 8am home curfew.

Mr Kerr said Webster breached it that night when he seen outside a Chester-le-Street nightspot carrying a Samurai sword, which he voluntarily handed to door staff on being challenged.

Webster claimed he was returning to the premises having been assaulted earlier, but the door staff knew nothing of the supposed incident, and he was arrested a short time later.

The 24-year-old, of Poplar Street, admitted burglary of the sandwich shop and possessing a bladed article in public.

Andrew Rutter, mitigating said Webster was suffering mental health difficulties at the time, with anxiety issues, and was not taking the required medication.

But, since then, he has referred himself to his gp and has been seen by a psychiatrist, who prescribed the correct medication.

Mr Rutter said Webster has also given up drink and drug-taking, and has remained trouble-free, while remaining on the prescribed dosage.

Recorder Ian Atherton agreed to take an exceptional course and not jail Webster, to enable him to receive the necessary help in the community, imposing an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, with 40 sessions working with the Probation Service.