A man who abused social security staff has been put on probation for two years.

Ralph John Walker told the staff he was ‘armed’ and threatened to smash windows after they refused to pay his benefits.

The 54-year-old had previously denied provoking behaviour but changed his plea to guilty.

A second charge, of threatening to destroy property, which he had also denied, was dismissed after the prosecution offered no evidence in light of the guilty plea to the other charge.

Prosecuting advocate Barry Swain told the court that Walker, who lives at Derby Road in Douglas, went to Markwell House on February 14, at 10.30am.

He was collecting benefits but told staff he had left his MiCard, which is used to collect them, in Port Erin.

He was subsequently turned away, but then a short time later came back and asked for forms to apply for a new MiCard.

He was told a new one would not be issued as he had not lost his card.

This prompted Walker to become agitated and aggressive.

He told staff he was armed and made threats to smash the windows if he was not paid.

Walker then left but knocked over a stack of paperwork by the entrance as he went.

Police were called and the defendant was arrested, but no weapon was found.

During an interview at police headquarters, Walker said he had suffered a concussion the previous day.

He said that he did not remember making any threats at Markwell House.

The court heard that he is already subject to a probation order, which runs until August 2024 and was imposed for drink-related offences.

A probation report said that the latest type of offence was out of character for the defendant.

The report said that Walker had significant health issues and was receiving assistance from Graih, the homelessness charity, as well as probation.

A number of interventions, relating to alcohol, were said to have been tried over the years with the defendant, and the report said he had not offended for 18 months prior to the latest incident.

Defence advocate Paul Glover said that that was a significant period of time for Walker to go without offending, bearing in mind his previous record.

‘The most important matter is that he continues to receive support,’ said the advocate.

Chair of the magistrates Julian Ashcroft said: ‘When you go into Markwell House or any other establishment and abuse the staff it’s not going to end well for you.

‘Threats from you are just not acceptable.’

Walker was also ordered to pay £150 prosecution costs at a rate of £10 per week, deducted from benefits.