Officer was attacked in police cell

A MAN has been jailed after stealing a computer from a school and then viciously assaulting a police officer.

The force of the punch from Alan Bates led to the police sergeant falling and hitting his head on a cell wall, a court heard.

He then tried to bite the sergeant’s face before other officers managed to restrain him.

Bates, 31, of Fulthorpe Avenue, Hartlepool, was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison after admitting burglary on February 28 and assaulting a police officer on February 29.

Bates appeared at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court via videolink as he had been recalled to prison following his last offence of burglary in November 2010, for which he received 876 days in custody.

Helen Kesterton, prosecuting at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court, said two males entered St Hild’s CE Secondary School, in King Oswy Drive, Hartlepool, at around 6.30pm when it was closed.

She added: “They got into the reception through an unlocked door and started to dismantle a desktop computer.

“Once dismantled, the two males left the building with the computer.”

Police were called and they checked CCTV footage that showed two males carrying out the offence.

Ms Kesterton said Bates was identified by police community support officers, who had dealt with him previously, and he was arrested.

The prosecutor said while in custody, officers believed Bates was smoking in his cell.

She added that upon going to his cell, there was a heavy smell of cigarette smoke.

Ms Kesterton said: “The cell was searched, and while the search was going on, the defendant became aggressive towards staff and refused to comply with them.

“Attempts were made to take him to the floor. He lashed out at a police sergeant’s head.

“The sergeant then hit his head on a wall and fell back on top of the defendant.

“The defendant attempted to bite the sergeant’s face before being restrained.”

Magistrates were told the officer suffered reddening to his arms and head and bleeding to his ear.

John Relton, mitigating, said: “Alan Bates has a poor record. It’s regrettable that he finds himself encouraged to have gone into this school to take this item.”

He said the officer admitted punching Bates four times and “responded to the aggression shown by the defendant”.

“My client appeared to try to bite his ear, but didn’t actually make contact.”

Mr Relton added that Bates’ offending had been linked to “chronic drug misuse” but since last being released from prison there had been a “marked improvement” as he had been treated at a rehabilitation centre.

However, he had met up with his “old companions” and that was how this offence had came about, he added.

Bates told magistrates: “I’m sorry for what I’ve done.”