A man arrested for possession of a knife in a Morrisons store in Ipswich town centre on Tuesday wanted to be sent to prison, a court has heard.

Shaun Collins, 43, appeared at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, November 14, at 11.05am, police officers were called to Tower Ramparts in Ipswich town centre, and a man was detained at the scene.

The court heard that Collins had entered the Morrisons Daily store carrying a Stanley knife and told shop workers to call the police.

Collins, who told the court he had no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to the offence of possession of a knife blade in a public place.

However, Collins’ defence solicitor David Allan told the court that Collins’ actions were a ‘cry for help’, and that his behaviour “indicated just how desperate he was”.

“This is a rather sad and unusual case where someone who has been out of trouble for eight years behaves in this way with the quite clear intention, not of carrying out the offences, but to get the police involved and to go to prison,” Mr Allan said.

The court heard that Collins had served time previously but had not committed any offence since 2002.

Entering the store with the Stanley knife was, Mr Allen said, a “means to an end”.

The court heard that the staff members of Morrisons Daily had told police that they “felt this was more of a cry for a help than a serious attempt to threaten them”.

They had asked Collins if he was sure he wanted them to call the police, to which he insisted he was. He then sat down on the steps outside the shop and waited for the police to arrive.

Collins was given a custodial sentence of 21 weeks, of which he will serve half, and placed on probation for 12 months.