Man stages dirty protest in his cell

SORRY: Steven Mason, admitted criminal damage for smearing faeces on the inside of a police station cell
SORRY: Steven Mason, admitted criminal damage for smearing faeces on the inside of a police station cell

A DRUNKEN yob who smeared his faeces all over a police cell has been ordered to pay for the clean-up and to do community work.

Steven Mason, 34, held the dirty protest in Hartlepool’s Avenue Road police station after being locked up for swearing at officers.

They had twice told him to calm down, even offering him a lift home, before he took things too far and was arrested when a resident near Mason’s home in Windermere Road, Hartlepool, complained about his antics.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court was told that Mason soiled his cell because he had been made to strip naked by officers as they checked for items in fear that he would self-harm.

He admitted being drunk and disorderly and criminal damage on October 10.

Town justices gave him 80 hours unpaid work to be added onto a court order that was already running for another offence and ordered him to pay £120 in compensation and £85 costs.

Tahira Boucher, prosecuting, said police had already spoken to Mason the same night and offered him a lift home when they came across him again in his street.

She added: “At 4am he swore at police officers and stuck up two fingers. He was spoken to and told to go home.

“At 5.20am members of the public said they had seen a man in the middle of the road and he was causing an obstruction.

“He was taken into police custody, where there were concerns about his behaviour. It transpired that he had smeared faeces around various parts of his cell.”

John Relton, mitigating, for Mason, who has 20 previous convictions on his record, said the offence started at a “rather low level of seriousness but escalated”.

He added: “At the police station he became uncooperative and he pretended to be asleep while they tried to read him his rights.

“They took him to the cell and stripped him naked for issues of self-harm, and there was no food or drink. It may surprise people in Hartlepool that people get treated like that for being drunk and disorderly.

“That led him to protest. Yes there was drink, but his behaviour wasn’t so bad. It got out of hand at the police station because of the way he was treated and for that he is sorry.”