A judge has issued a warrant for the arrest of a Melksham man amid fears he has fled to the Caribbean.

Michael Brown was due to face trial by jury at Swindon Crown Court yesterday accused of brandishing a knife in a public place.

But the 61-year-old failed to turn up for the hearing and the judge was told the defendant may be in the West Indies.

It was said that when he learned of the trial date a few weeks ago he told a neighbour he would not be there as he was going to the Caribbean, where he has lived in the past.

It is thought that he recently inherited about £50,000 following the death of a close relative.

Brown, of St Michael's Court in Canon Square, Melksham, had pleaded not guilty to having a bladed article in public.

It is alleged he had the knife close to his home on Saturday, May 25 last year.

Judge Douglas Field issued a warrant without bail for his arrest and to bring him before the court.