Alfreton man was spotted with a machete in the Peak District

Pictured is John Sanders, 36, of Cemetery Road, Alfreton, who pleaded guilty to possessing a machete in public.
Pictured is John Sanders, 36, of Cemetery Road, Alfreton, who pleaded guilty to possessing a machete in public.

A self-styled Bear Grylls character who was spotted carrying a machete at a Peak District beauty spot has been handed a suspended jail sentence.

John Sanders, of Cemetery Road, Alfreton, was described at Derby Crown Court as a Walter Mitty character who had sent e-mails to TV companies suggesting they film him in survival programmes similar to the ones with outdoor pursuits specialist Bear Grylls.

The court heard last week how the 36-year-old was approached by police in the car park at Black Rocks, between Cromford and Wirksworth, after a 999 call reported a man carrying either a machete or a baseball bat.

Martin Hurst, prosecuting, said police came across Sanders’ car and an officer spotted a machete along with cider in the car.

Mr Hurst said: “He is something of a Bear Grylls character in that he has got into outdoor survival-type things. I suspect that the machete was for chopping down branches rather than for killing animals.

“He said he was going to set up a camera and film himself for a TV production company.”

Sanders pleaded guilty to possessing a bladed item after the incident about 7.15pm, on March 7.

Quentin Robbins, for Sanders, said: “The police have seen e-mails that pre-date the offence that show his desire to star in survival films, one of which was entitled Naked and Alone.

“He is a Walter Mitty, a chef by trade, who has also previously worked in the laminate window trade.”

Judge Mooncey sentenced Sanders to a six-month jail term suspended for 18 months.