A  man who threatened a witness in Watford town centre was freed from jail today because of the length of time he has spent on remand in custody.

Tijmal Saddique, 30, grabbed Zoran Kojic by the arm and told him not to be a grass, St Albans crown court heard.

Prosecutor Peter Walsh said Mr Kojic had been due to give evidence against another man in a court case.

Saddique, of Mildred Avenue, Watford, pleaded guilty to using threatening words on January 22 this year.

He had 27 previous convictions for 56 offences. In 2003 he was sentenced to a total of six and a half years for attempted robbery and having a firearm.

He admitted being in breach of a 12 month conditional discharged imposed by West Herts Magistrates on January 13 for shoplifting. He had stolen a bottle of Smirnoff Ice and two packets of crisps worth £1.98 while drunk.

Stephen Leake, defending, said: "The incident appears to have been spontaneous and unplanned."

He said the maximum sentence for the public order offence of using threatening words was six months and that Saddique had been in custody since February 11. If parole was taken into account, it meant he had served more than the equivalent of a six month sentence.

Recorder David Mayall passed a sentence of four months. He told Saddique: "As you have served more than four months you will be released, but you will be on licence for a short while. If you reoffend, you will be taken into custody. Do you understand?"

He replied: "Yes sir."