A man arrested during an English Defence League demonstration in April has escaped a prison sentence.
Lee Stubbs, of Kings Avenue, Queensbury, was stopped by police after being spotted with a knuckleduster during the rally on April 16.
The weapon was attached to his belt when he was arrested on Hall Street, behind police lines which had formed to keep the EDL in the town centre.
The 23-year-old said he had been using the knuckleduster as a belt buckle and had no intention of using it as a weapon.
He admitted a charge of possessing an offensive weapon but insisted he was not a member of the EDL.
Calderdale Magistrates heard how Stubbs had entered Halifax to drink with friends but didn’t realise an EDL demonstration was taking place until he arrived in the town.
He was captured by police surveillance cameras joining in with chanting in pubs around the town centre.
Chairman of the bench Arnold Horner said Stubbs was as close to going to jail as he could get without actually being sent down.
“The naivety to think that what you had in your possession was a belt buckle is almost unbelievable,” he said.
“I hope you understand how close you came to custody.
“If you have to come back there is only one place you will be going – and that’s a warning you ignore at your peril.”
Stubbs was given a community order of 12 months, during which time he will be under supervision and ordered to complete 120 hours unpaid work.