A LORRY driver who threatened to harm police officers during a 16-hour Boxing Day siege has escaped an immediate jail sentence.
Gary Ward, who was armed with both a meat cleaver and a knife, shouted threats to officers that he would kill anyone who tried to get him out of his Louth home and also threatened to harm himself.
Ward, who had drunk several bottles of wine, refused to come out of the property in Keddington Crescent and was only removed after officers forced their way in shortly before 4pm.
The siege began in the final few minutes of Christmas Day when police were called to Ward's home.
Phil Howes, prosecuting at Lincoln Crown Court, said: "Ward was holding a knife and he was self-harming.
"He was shouting threats that he would kill himself if people came too close and said he would kill anyone who came in to try to get him out.
"He was howling, crying and shouting at the top of his voice."
Armed police were called to the scene as Ward's behaviour became more erratic and a trained negotiator attempted to bring the stand-off to an end before officers forced their way in.
A taser was used in order to secure his arrest. He was then taken to hospital.
Ward, who at the time lived in Keddington Crescent, Louth, but has since moved to Monkhill Avenue, Pontefract, West Yorkshire, admitted affray.
He was given a 12-month jail sentence suspended for two years with two year's supervision.
Recorder Nigel Daly told him: "This was totally out of your normal character.
"You were effectively out of control. You had armed yourself with these weapons and whether you intended to use them on yourself or not there was a real risk that when officers tried to get you out you would use the weapons. This was effectively a siege for an extended period of time."
Neil Sands, defending, said Ward was a long distance lorry driver who at the time of the incident was working over 70 hours a week.
He said that by Christmas Day Ward was exhausted and was then told that his 29-year marriage was over.
"Everything got on top of him and he turned to drink.
"He acted utterly out of character."