Frome PCSO faced with threats of violence by drinker
ASKED to stop drinking in a Frome street by a police community support officer, a man launched a string of verbal insults and threatened to punch him.
John Austin took several more swigs from his bottle of cider and then vented his frustration on a plastic lifebuoy casing.
The 37-year-old, of no fixed address, was arrested and pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly during the incident in Chateau Gontier Walk.
He also admitted destroying the lifebuoy stand worth £175 belonging to Frome Town Council when he appeared before Somerset Magistrates sitting at Yeovil.
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Emma Chetland, prosecuting, said that Austin was seen by a PCSO in Chateau Gontier Walk at 3.55pm and was drinking from a bottle of cider.
"It was a designated no-drinking zone and the defendant was approached and asked to stop drinking and put the top on the bottle," said Miss Chetland. "Austin stood up and told the officer to '**** off' and took two more swigs before pouring the rest over the riverbank and path.
"He then swore at the officer again and threatened to punch him in the face but instead punched the plastic casing to the lifebuoy which will now have to be replaced."
Defending solicitor Robin Weelen said that Austin had just been evicted from his flat and had been drinking when he was approached by the PCSO.
"He had known Austin for a long time but said he had never seen him display such extreme behaviour before," he said.
"My client suffers from depression and anxiety and at the moment is living in a friend's garage and is trying to address his behaviour."
The magistrates imposed a 12-month conditional discharge on Austin and ordered him to pay £175 compensation to Frome Town Council. No order was made for costs.