A JUDGE has ruled it would be "unjust" to jail a man after police found a sentimental machete in his car.

Freddie Gooderson admitted to officers that he had his grandfather's knife from the pacific war campaign in the vehicle when they stopped him in Poole.

Gooderson, 35, was charged with having a bladed article in Bryant Road, Poole, in June last year without good reason or lawful authority.He denied the allegation on the basis that he had a reasonable excuse for having the machete.

However, a jury trial at Bournemouth Crown Court on March 10 found him guilty.

At a sentencing hearing at the same court on May 11, Judge Robert Pawson said his excuse fell "just short" of being reasonable and placed the offence in the lowest category of the sentencing guidelines.

The court heard Gooderson, of Derby Road, Bournemouth, had a previous conviction for possession of a lock knife from more than 20 years ago when he was a teenager.

The second knife conviction for having the machete would automatically draw a minimum six-month immediate prison term but Judge Pawson said the circumstances of both offences and the defendant's explanation for having the blade in his car in June last year made jailing him "unjust".

"You were found by police with a machete in the back of your car having been stopped," said Judge Pawson.

"You admitted straightaway you had the machete and the defence was you had a reasonable and lawful excuse. The jury found against you."

Prosecuting, David Jenkins said no application had been made for forfeiture and destruction of the machete.

He described the blade as a "collectors item" which had a "sentimental value" and was a "true item of memorabilia".

Mr Jenkins added: "It is an item that is entirely lawful to possess in a private home or somewhere else appropriate."

The court heard the defendant was homeless at the time of the offence and staying at a hostel.

Judge Pawson issued a 12-month community order, with a condition to complete up to 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days.