An amateur musician who was asked to leave a Christmas party at a hairdresser’s salon returned a few minutes later armed with a four and a half foot long scythe.

John Tipper invited himself into the party at the shop opposite his home in the centre of Ilfracombe where he sang and played guitar before the gathering started to break up.

The other guests asked him to leave because they were planning to move onto a pub but within minutes of going home, Tipper returned with the weapon.

He used the garden tool, which looks like the scythe carried by the Grim Reaper, to hit the plate glass windows of Jackie’s Hairdressers three times.

The owner and the other guests were terrified and one of the men at the party went outside and restrained Tipper before he caused any damage.

The owner told Exeter Crown Court today (Wednesday) she is now frightened to go out in the centre of her home town.

Tipper, aged 40, of High Street, Ilfracombe, admitted possessing a bladed article in a public place and was jailed for six months, suspended for a year and ordered to do five days of rehabilitation activities by Judge Peter Johnson.

The judge told him:”You fetched the scythe, which you had been using earlier for a community project, and banged on the window of the salon with it, causing considerable alarm.

“I take into account not only the wholly positive references and the charitable work you perform and your mental health issues.

“I make a deprivation order on the scythe. It has no place being on Ilfracombe High Street on a December night.”

Emmi Wilson, prosecuting, said Ms Cracknell, some staff members, and friends were at a party at the salon on the night of December 1 last year when Tipper arrived around midnight.

They did not know him and did not invite him but agreed he could come in and sing some songs. After a short while they guests all decided they wanted to move on to a pub and asked him to go.

He went to his home a few yards away and came back with the scythe, which he used to hammer on the window, without causing any damage. One guest went out and disarmed him.

The salon owner made a victim impact statement saying she had been very shaken by the incident an d now feels insecure about going out in the centre of Ilfracombe.

Deborah Minett, defending, said Tipper had not intended to alarm anyone and fetched the scythe to explain how he had got scratches and cuts on his hands while doing voluntary work on a farm.

She said Tipper has received support from the mental health service in North Devon and has recently moved away from his flat opposite the salon to stay with friends.

He was helping with a community farm project at the time and has been helping in a charity shop since.