A DRINKER challenged police officers to shoot him with a taser after they spoke to him about a fracas in the street.

In the early hours of August 11, a police officer asked to speak to Neil Howard about an incident in the Grange Road area of Darlington.

Prosecuting at Darlington Magistrates’ Court, Chris Bunting explained: “At 1.40am police were asked to go to Harvey’s because of a disturbance taking place.

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“They arrived and approached a couple of males outside Joe Rigatonis. The first male had a head injury, the second male was the defendant.

“There was no suggestion he was doing anything wrong. He (the police officer) was trying to get to the bottom of things, he spoke to him and tried to find out what happened.”

However the 47-year-old of Middleton Street, Darlington, took exception to the police officer’s actions and became aggressive, challenging him to shoot him with his taser.

Mr Bunting said: “He has brought this upon himself for no really good reason.”

Howard pleaded guilty to being drunk and disorderly in a public place and obstructing a police officer.

Marie Barker mitigating said: “He took exception to the fact that people officers wanted to speak to him.”

She also told the court Howard was on medication and should not have been drinking alcohol.

Ordering him to pay a £200 fine and a £20 victim surcharge, District Judge Adrian Lower told Howard: “You might agree that the police have got far better things to do than try and deal with people who have had too much to drink.”