A MAN under the influence of drink and drugs donned his friend’s police ‘special’ uniform and “went on patrol” in town centre bars late at night, a court was told.

Although the uniform enabled Samuel John Houlihan to walk into licensed premises, door security staff soon became suspicious due to his drunken behaviour in the toilets of two establishments.

Durham Crown Court heard he was eventually confronted and left, before staggering to a taxi rank in Bishop Auckland town centre, and getting into the back of a cab.

Shaun Dryden, prosecuting, said Houlihan, with slurred speech, ordered the driver to give him a lift, saying: “Take me home. I’m the law.”

The driver refused and a confrontation took place in which the driver, assisted by door security staff from nearby premises, tried to remove Houlihan from the vehicle.

Mr Dryden said Houlihan punched a window and spat at the dash board, before genuine police turned up and completed his arrest.

Officers subsequently visited the home of the special constable whose uniform was worn by Houlihan.

Mr Dryden said the perplexed special, who had left his friend “dog-sitting” while he went on a family night out, went up to his bedroom wardrobe to discover his uniform was missing.

The court was told the uniform included stab vest, pepper spray canister, extendable baton and handcuffs.

Mr Dryden said the special officer concerned felt his friend had betrayed his trust, while it landed him in disciplinary trouble, as he should have left the uniform under lock and key at the police station.

It emerged that earlier in the evening Houlihan smashed a bus window with a traffic cone, after being ejected from the Darlington to Bishop Auckland service when he was found asleep behind the driver’s cab.

Houlihan was bailed following his actions that night, on October 4, but days later turrned up drunk at his mother’s home in the early hours of the morning and smashed his way into the house, causing considerable damage.

Mr Dryden said his mother hid from Houlihan, until police arrived and arrested him after he threw a wallpaper scraper in their direction.

Twenty-year-old Houlihan, of Linburn Drive, Bishop Auckland, admitted impersonating a police officer, two counts of criminal damage, plus affray.

Julie Clemitson, mitigating, said the defendant has remained in custody since the second incident, on October 10, and is now “highly motivated” to change his ways and keep off drink and drugs in future, as these were the root of his offending.

Imposing a 14-month sentence in a young offenders’ institution, Judge Christopher Prince said Houlihan “showed complete contempt” when trusted with bail.

He added: “I think the most effective way of deterring you from offending in future is for you to realise where taking drugs and alcohol is taking you.”