A vulnerable Lincoln man who armed himself with a knife blade after being bullied by local youths was spared jail by a judge.
Paul Beckett admitted confronting a 14-year-old boy with the weapon after becoming fed up with gangs gathering outside his flat in Moorland Avenue.
Lincoln Crown Court heard Beckett, 34, held the steak knife blade out in front of himself after coming out of his home and warned the teenager: "If you don't move I'm going to use it."
When the teenager asked Beckett if it was a knife he replied "yes," the court was told.
The boy, who had been visiting a local skate park, felt "scared" and cycled off, Andrew Scott, prosecuting, said.
Police were called and seized the knife blade.
During interview Beckett admitted he had mistaken the 14-year-old boy for other teenagers who had hounded him.
The court heard Beckett had previously received a police caution for carrying a knife in a supermarket for his own protection, after he had, again, been bullied.
Jon Straw, mitigating, told the court Beckett had now been rehoused in another area to avoid any further bullying.
Mr Straw said: "He is a very isolated individual who has been picked on for most of his life."
Beckett, formerly of Moorland Avenue, Lincoln, pleaded guilty to possessing a bladed article on March 14, this year.
He was sentenced to seven months in prison, suspended for two years.
He was also placed under the supervision of a probation officer for two years.
Sparing Beckett jail, Judge Sean Morris said he was clearly a vulnerable individual who was being picked on by local youths.
But Judge Morris warned Beckett: "This carrying of knives has to stop. Next time the court's hands will be tied and you will have to go to prison."