A U.K. man who claimed government benefits trashed a job center and threatened to burn it down when he was told he'd lose money if he didn't try harder to find work.
Gerald Taylor, 40, who had 59 previous convictions for arson and buglary, reportedly became "aggressive and argumentative" at an appointment at a job center on Jan. 26 after being warned that his benefits would be cut off if he didn't actively search for a job, the Daily Mail reports. He allegedly threatened to burn the building down before leaving and returning 45 minutes later with a hammer in hand. He proceeded to smash two windows before being "disarmed" by someone nearby.
When police arrived, Taylor pulled out a knife.
"He was holding the knife to his wrist," prosecutor Harry Pepper said. "When not doing that officers saw he was waving it around and demanding to speak to a Job Centre [sic] employee about his benefits."
Taylor had reportedly not worked in 25 years due to his prior convictions as well as a lack of experience.
"He had no funds to make phone calls to get jobs," defense attorney David Traynor said. "In the week before this incident he had found five jobs he wanted to apply for, but had no credit or money to make those phone calls."
Taylor plead guilty to threatening behavior, criminal damage and possessing a bladed article, and was sentenced to 9 months in prison.
"You are a man with no self control," Judge Christopher Cornwall said in court. "... It is a pretty remarkable feature of this case that you held however many police officers at bay for over one and a half hours - a complete waste of police time. Those officers really were not to know just exactly how an unpredictable man was actually going to behave. Was he suddenly going to make a run at them or not?"
Source: Daily Mail / Photo Credit: dailymail.co.uk