Sidmouth teenager took CS spray from police officer

A SIDMOUTH teenager has admitted drunkenly snatching CS spray from the hand of a female police officer as she struggled with his arrested friend.

A SIDMOUTH teenager has admitted drunkenly snatching CS spray from the hand of a female police officer as she struggled with his arrested friend.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to being in possession of the spray, which police later found hidden in his boxer shorts, and resisting arrest before Central Devon Magistrates sitting in Exeter on Wednesday.

The court heard how two Sidmouth officers were called to Blackmore Gardens on July 27 after reports of anti-social behaviour by a group of youths at the site.

Prosecutor David Burgess described how the officers then arrested one of the group for being drunk and disorderly, only to end up "surrounded" and "jostled" by six to eight youths, "shouting to let their mate go."


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He then claimed that as the female officer resorted to using her CS spray on the arrested member, the 16-year-old Sidmouth defendant, who had drunk between a quarter to half a litre of vodka, "grabbed" her hand from behind and "wrestled" the spray "with force" from her, before fleeing.

The arrested group member was given a formal warning while the 16-year-old youth was later found near his home.

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Defending the teen, Rob Jacobs claimed there were "extenuating circumstances" as to why he grabbed the spray. He said: "His friend struggled and was grabbed and cuffed, bent double over a wall, and was well and truly under arrest. He was under police control and may have been struggling, but quite clearly wasn't going anywhere.

"My client says the officer was spraying (the CS spray) into his friend's face from behind.

"He decided he would intervene and the only way he knew how was to grab away the spray from the officer.

"He denies 'wrestling' and didn't know what to do with it. It was never sprayed by him. It's a very silly thing but the motivation is understandable in part. He went about what he was trying to achieve in the wrong way."

The teen told police after the incident he "acted before he thought". Prosecutor Mr Burgess argued back against claims that the police's use of the spray had been "inappropriate". He said: "The officer was going about her duty while a number of aggressive males surrounded her as she tried to deal with one of them."

The 16-year-old will appear before magistrates again on September 2 to be sentenced.

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