A MAN found in possession of a machete and nunchucks said he was 'attempting to disable badger traps,' a court heard.

Darren Reynolds, 31, and of Church Street, Dorchester, admitted to possessing an offensive weapon and a bladed article at Weymouth Magistrate Court.

Elizabeth Valera, prosecuting said police officers spotted Reynolds and a friend "acting suspiciously" at a well-known drug dealing hotspot in London Road, Dorchester just before midnight on December 29.

The pair then disappeared down a nature trail towards a coppice and the officers followed them on foot.

When the police caught up with Reynolds and began speaking to him they noticed he had a pair of nunchucks sticking out of his pocket.

"On seeing this the officers then searched him," Miss Valera said. "They take a rucksack from his back and find a 14 inch machete with a fixed blade in there."

The court was told Reynolds described himself as an "activist" and had planned to use the machete to cut through undergrowth and disable badger traps he had heard were set in the area.

However, Miss Valera told magistrates: "Those who carry knives use knives and we have had numerous deaths. This is a well-known area for drug-dealing. You may consider whether [Reynold's story] is credible."

Simon Lacey, mitigating said Reynolds was confused about the law in relation to carrying knives and weapons and due to 'significant' mental health issues "he may not have been thinking like we would."

Mr Lacey said at the time of the offence, Reynolds usual medication had been halved which had "affected his thought process."

He added Reynolds, who has dreadlocked hair, said he thought police saw his appearance and assumed he must be a "druggy" but, although he was once alcohol dependant and a drug user, he had been sober for some time.

"His mum said to me he would never harm a fly," Mr Lacey said.

Addressing Reynolds in the dock, chairman of the bench, Debbie Boitoult said: "These are serious offences. There is no doubt under slightly different circumstances it would have resulted in a custodial sentence."

She added due to his mental health issues and the fact he had no previous convictions, the magistrates had decided to give him a community punishment.

Reynolds was given a 12 month community order and must complete 200 hours of unpaid community work for the possession of the two weapons.

Magistrates also ordered both the machete and the nunchucks be destroyed.