A drug user who burst into a house with a hammer and told police he would 'stab up' the occupant has been jailed for six years.
Marcus Davies believed the householder had stolen his mobile phone during a a drug taking session the previous evening.
A judge told Davies his sentence would have been longer had there been any direct confrontation.
"The householder left his property at about 8am," said Harry Hadfield, prosecuting,
"Witnesses called police after seeing Davies attacking the front door of the house with a claw hammer.
"He was in the house by the time the officers arrived, and he was clearly agitated.
"There had been an untidy search of the house and some damage done.
"Davies was wielding the hammer, but he did put it down after one of the officers drew his incapacitant spray.
"During interviews, Davies said several times if he was released from custody he would 'stab up' and otherwise seriously harm the householder.
"The allegation of theft of the phone is denied."
The court heard the householder is now scared to trust anyone or invite them into his property.
Davies, 36, of Baden Street, Hartlepool, admitted burglary with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
He has previous convictions for burglary, robbery, theft, criminal damage. and offences involving drugs.
Andrew Teate, defending, said in mitigation: "This offence was caused by a combination of Mr Davies taking illicit substances, not taking his prescribed medication, and some underlying mental health issues.
"His record is a bad one, and he is aware there will be a significant prison sentence imposed today.
"There was no confrontation or direct threat, all the threats were made via the police.
"But his best point in mitigation is his early guilty plea."
Judge Sean Morris jailed Davies for six years.
The judge told him: "Goodness knows what mayhem you could have caused with the hammer had you come into direct contact with the victim.
"I agree with your counsel the fact there was no direct contact lessens the seriousness of this offence a little.
"But it is still a very serious matter, and one that must carry a lengthy sentence."
Davies was made the subject of a restraining order banning him from contacting the victim for 10 years.
The judge ordered the confiscation and destruction of the hammer.