Housing officers feared a threatening man, who claimed to be homeless, would burn their homes, a court has heard.

Michael Simms, of Meyrick Street, Pembroke Dock, appeared at Haverfordwest magistrates court on Tuesday, February 11, having previously pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

Vaughan Pritchard-Jones, prosecuting, said Simms, 37, went to County Hall’s housing department at 2pm on February 6, and stated he was homeless.

Records showed the council had provided him with a property, and it was pointed that it was his choice if he was sleeping rough as claimed.

Mr Prichard-Jones said: “He became abusive and threatening, saying he would burn the flat down which he had been allocated and then he would be homeless.

“He repeatedly told the ladies to ‘shut up and get out’, and did not like them smiling occasionally.”

Simms told the housing officers he would arrange for them to be followed home, if they did not stop smiling and ‘do the same’ to them, which they took as a threat to burn their houses as well.

After 15 minutes Simms swore at the women and walked out, slamming the door so hard that the whole booth shook.

Mr Pritchard-Jones added: “Both were shocked and fearful, and they were of the opinion, due to his unpredictable behaviour and mental health issues, that he may carry out the threat.”

Mike Kelleher, defending, said Simms spent a night in custody as a result of the incident.

“Mr Simms does not always present well to people in authority, particularly when he becomes upset or annoyed.”

Mr Kelleher added that Simms, who had mental health issues, felt he was being hounded out of his accommodation by people who had threatened to ‘burn him out’.

“That was what he was trying to express to the housing officers, something must have got lost in translation.”

“He did not feel he had a place to stay. He struggled to express what he was feeling and accepts he did say some rather stupid things to them.”

The court heard that Simms, a father-of-five, was very remorseful and had acted out of frustration.

Magistrates imposed a 12-month community order with a 20-day rehabilitation activity and thinking skills programme.

Simms was ordered to pay £295 in a fine, costs and surcharge.