A SHOPWORKER who snapped after being "verbally abused" and "assaulted", chased colleagues around a Port Glasgow supermarket with two forks and a butter knife and threatened to kill them, Greenock Sheriff Court has heard.

Two co-workers of Randolph Edwards hid in a disabled toilet while the 44-year-old former Tesco employee rampaged through the store with the cafeteria cutlery.

Edwards pleaded guilty to a threatening or abusive behaviour offence and possession of a weapon following the alarming incident on January 31.

Prosecutor Ashley Pollock told a sentencing hearing: "The accused walked past the two witnesses, who were also employed at the store, and made an offensive comment for no reason to the female complainer.

"An argument ensued.

"At one point the accused shouted 'I am going to kill you, I'm going to get a knife'.

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"Other members of staff approached Edwards and the complainers and tried to calm things down.

"He made his way to the canteen and returned with a metal butter knife and two forks.

"He pursued a witness around the aisles shouting 'I am going to kill you'."

The complainers were locked in the disabled toilets for their own safety while colleagues waited for police to arrive.

Officers attended the store and found Edwards lying in the middle of an aisle, with the items having been removed, and he was taken to Inverclyde Royal Hospital after suffering injuries in relation to another matter no longer before the court.

Defence solicitor Aidan Gallagher said: "There were difficulties between himself and the male complainer who made derogatory comments to him about his appearance and presentation and about his mental health.

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"Before the incident he was involved in a physical altercation with the male witness who proceeded to punch him.

"Cuts and bruises were sustained as a consequence of him being hurt.

"That seems to have been the catalyst for him going to the cafeteria; it was a reaction to what happened to him."

Gallagher asked the sheriff to have regard to Edwards' age and lack of previous convictions.

Sheriff James Varney said: "This is an appalling set of circumstances to come before the court on for a first offence.

"Your behaviour was unacceptable and the use of a knife will never be condoned in this court or any other court, particularly in the presence of colleagues."

As a direct alternative to custody, Edwards, who lives in Partick and is no longer employed by Tesco, was sentenced to 18 months of supervision and 180 hours of unpaid work to be completed within a year-and-a-half.