A MAN ripped open the headrest of an Arriva bus seat causing an estimated £1,000 of damage after he failed to take his medication for several days.

Wayne Gowton, 32, of Darlington, boarded the bus that was travelling between Durham and Darlington at 4.15pm on Wednesday, January 8.

Gowton, of Barden Moor Road, was with a female when he got onto the vehicle at Woodham Services, in Newton Aycliffe.

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Prosecutor Rachael Dodsworth, at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court, said: “Gowton appeared to be drunk and unsteady on his feet.

“The couple sat at the rear of the bus and as it travelled towards Newton Aycliffe town centre the male was swearing and shouting.

“One of the people on the bus asked him to calm down and just before 4.45pm the couple got off at Northgate, in Darlington.”

She said the bus carried on to Tubwell Row, in Darlington, where the driver was told about the damaged seat.

The headrest had been damaged and mud smeared across the fabric.

The court heard that when Gowton was arrested he blamed the incident on his mental health issues.

Ben Pegman, defending Gowton, said: “He has been in West Park Hospital, in Darlington, recently and he takes strong medication.

“On the day in question he had not taken his medication for the previous two days. He takes issue with the comments that he was drunk.”

Gowton pleaded guilty at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court to a charge of criminal damage.

He was sentenced to a two year conditional discharge and he will pay a £15 victim surcharge. District judge Martin Walker declined to impose costs or compensation.