A PROLIFIC offender attacked a police officer, breaking his finger, after headbutting a man he believed to be CID.

Simon Kernan, 40, was drinking in the Joseph Pease public house in Darlington when he took exception to a drinker, headbutted him and later attacked him in the toilets.

When police arrived he assaulted an officer, with pepper spray just aggravating him further, until the only thing that could stop him was being tasered.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said the victim was having a drink when he was approached by a woman who asked him if he was CID.

"He denied he was a police officer," she said. "Then she pointed towards the defendant and said 'he wants a word with you'.

"The victim went over and said he wasn't an officer. He put his beer down on the table and without warning the defendant headbutted him on the nose. He was shocked and stunned."

He was later followed into the toilets when the defendant started to push him.

Police arrived to arrest an intoxicated Kernan and were confronted by a large number of people inside and outside and felt the atmosphere was hostile towards them.

The defendant shouted to a sergeant to f*** off before the officer took hold of him by the arm.

Kernan pushed him in the chest and tried to pull away, so he was pepper sprayed.

Ms Atkinson said: "This seemed to make him more agitated. Other officers had to assist due to the size of the defendant, his stature and physique. He pulled the officer's head down and drove it towards his chest."

She said the sergeant was conscious there was a hostile crowd of Kernan's acquaintances nearby, and as the defendant continued to struggle a fellow officer deployed a taser which meant they were able to arrest him. The sergeant discovered afterwards that his finger had been broken by Kernan.

Johnny Walker, mitigating, described Kernan's health difficulties including severe epilepsy which had led to amnesia because he was having up to 16 seizures a day.

Kernan, of Carleton Walk, Penrith, had now moved out of the Darlington area to be closer to his sister and was attempting to get help for his mental health issues.

He had pleaded guilty to two charges, one of actual bodily harm on the police officer and another of assault by beating.

He was given a seven-month prison sentence for ABH and two months for assault, both suspended for 18 months. He was also ordered to pay £200 compensation to the police officer.