A young boy had his phone stolen and was threatened with being stabbed as a he played in popular park.

Jay Paul Rossi approached a group of youngsters and asked to borrow a mobile to call his mum. When one of the trusting children handed over his phone the defendant pocketed it and issued a chilling threat: "Stay away from me. I've got a knife and I will stab you."

Police were quickly on the scene and conducted an area search but Rossi could not be found.

Swansea Crown Court heard the 24-year-old has a previous conviction for robbery when he had been part of a violent gang of car-jackers.

Jim Davis, prosecuting, said the phone theft took place in Swansea's Morriston Park in January this year.

He said a group of young of boys were playing in the park when Rossi approached them asking if he could use a phone. A 13-year-old boy handed over his phone, and Rossi dialled a number before putting the device in his pocket.

The prosecutor said no knife was seen despite the stabbing threat but Rossi kept one hand in his pocket as he spoke.

Rossi repeated the stabbing threat then walked off and one of the children called his mother who in turn called the police.

Rossi handed himself in to police a week later. In his subsequent interview he said he had thrown the phone away.

Rossi, of Long View Road, Clase, Swansea, pleaded guilty to theft and affray. The prosecution did not proceed with the original charge of robbery.

The court heard he has a previous conviction for robbery from 2016 which had seen him act as part of a gang who dragged a motorist from his car, beat him up, then stole the vehicle.

Giles Hayes, for Rossi, said the defendant had long-standing issues with anxiety, depression, and paranoia, and "very rarely goes out".

He said the previous conviction for robbery had happened at a time when Rossi was associating with a peer group who were drug-dependent.

Judge Geraint Walters said it must have been a frightening experience for the young boys to be confronted by a man whose behaviour was "to say the least, very bizarre" and who was issuing threats of violence.

He said "despite the ugliness of the incident" he was satisfied the events of the day were down to the defendant's mental health.

Giving Rossi credit for his guilty pleas the judge sentenced him to 12 months in prison suspended for 18 months and ordered him to complete a rehabilitation course.

The defendant was also made the subject of a restraining order banning him from entering Morriston Park for the next two years.