‘Off his face’ street drinker assaulted shop staff and police officer

Marks & Spencer in Bury St Edmunds Picture: GOOGLE

Marks & Spencer in Bury St Edmunds Picture: GOOGLE - Credit: Google

A 52-year-old street drinker has been jailed for assaulting a shop assistant and a police officer.

Darren Hodgson appeared at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday to admit common assault, assaulting an emergency worker, threatening behaviour and breaching a community protection notice banning him from drinking alcohol in public.

He also admitted two earlier offences of criminal damage and breaching the same notice on a previous occasion.

Hodgson was initially arrested for smashing the glass panelled door of support accommodation in Bury St Edmunds at about 11.15pm on June 24.

On July 16, he was found in St Andrew’s Street North with two cans of Stella Artois lager.

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On August 26, Hodgson drunkenly threatened and then motioned to headbutt a Marks & Spencer employee who tried to prevent him using the self-service checkout to buy a bottle of whisky.

On Tuesday, he was seen drinking from a bottle of rosé wine inside the mapped area of his community protection notice.

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When police attempted to arrest him for assaulting the member of staff at M&S, Hodgson became obstructive and abusive – first attempting to headbutt, and then spitting towards an officer as he was loaded into a van.

Prosecutor Colette Harper said Hodgson had a criminal record of 177 offences before appearing at court in custody this week, when he also admitted being in breach of post-sentence supervision following his release from an eight-week jail term in November.

Jeremy Kendall, mitigating, said Hodgson had moved from the North East to live with his brother in 2013 but had since become homeless.

Mr Kendall said Hodgson was awaiting approval for emergency accommodation and a rehab placement in Cornwall.

“The reason he comes into contact with the police is because of street drinking and being a nuisance,” he added.

“He was off his face and being a complete nuisance in M&S.

“When sober, he’s reasonable, realistic and candid about his problems.”

Mr Kendall said Hodgson could not recall trying to headbutt the police officer but accepted having spat on the floor of the van.

Hodgson was jailed for a total of six weeks and ordered to pay £60 in compensation for criminal damage and £50 for the common assault.

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