Drunk South Tyneside man spat at a policeman and racially abused his sergeant

A drunk South Tyneside man who spat at a policeman and racially abused his sergeant has been handed a suspended prison term.

Mark Reay’s spittle missed the PC during his arrest on a separate matter at his Chichester home on Monday, March 21.

And after being caged in a police van, Reay, 53, of Dacre Street, made racial comments while swearing at the second officer, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.

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District Judge Zoe Passfield ordered an all-options pre-sentence report into Reay’s offending, signalling a jail term was being considered.

Mark Reay.

But she spared him immediate custody, after hearing he had stopped drinking following quadruple heart bypass surgery and was ashamed of his actions.

She instead jailed him for 12 weeks, suspended for a year, and ordered him to pay each officer £100 compensation.

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Prosecutor Rob Lawson said: “Police have attended Mr Reay’s address to arrest him.

“When he was being placed in the police van, he spat towards an officer.”

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Mr Lawson confirmed that before the van began transporting Reay into custody, he used foul language and was racially abusive.

In a victim statement read to the court, the sergeant described Reay’s language as ‘grossly offensive’.

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He also said he could not believe people still used such racially abusive language.

The PC, in his victim statement, said it was unacceptable to be spat at during a global viral pandemic.

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Reay pleaded guilty to common assault of an emergency worker and racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress.

The court heard he has convictions for assaulting police in 2016, assault in 2017 and battery in 2020.

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Jason Smith, defending, said Reay could remember nothing of the incident due to alcohol and offered his apologies to the officers.

He added: “His life has turned 360 degrees. He would like to offer his profuse apologies. He can’t believe that he behaved that way that day.”

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Reay was given suspended jail terms of 12 weeks for assault and eight weeks for the racially aggravated offence, both sentences to run concurrently.

He must also pay £85 court costs and abide by a four-month 8pm to 7am home curfew.