A PLAIN-CLOTHES police officer buying food at a burger van spotted a man wielding an axe.

Samuel Harvey brought the weapon to the fast-food joint in Overthorpe Road, Banbury, as he remonstrated with the outlet’s owner.

The 20-year-old was sentenced at Oxford Crown Court yesterday having earlier admitted possessing an article with a blade or point.

Prosecutor Naomi Perry said Harvey, of Bretch Hill, Banbury, was seen at about 11.40am on April 25 by “a police officer in plain clothes who had gone to make a purchase at the burger van”.

Both men were “very agitated” and the policeman noticed Harvey was carrying what was described as a tile axe, said to be about the size of a hammer.

Miss Perry said Harvey did not raise it or threaten to use it.

After fleeing the scene, Harvey was arrested in Winchester Close soon afterwards.

He told police he had gone to see van owner Mark Abrahams to collect a £40 debt he was owed.

Daniel Wright, defending, said his client was a hard-working greenkeeper at Bicester Country Club.

Recorder Julian Knowles gave him 100 hours’ unpaid work and told him to pay £600 costs.