A MAN has appeared in court charged with criminal damage after tearing up a book belonging to Durham Constabulary to make paper aeroplanes.

Jeff Taylor, prosecuting at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court, said Alan Hall, 43, found himself in a police cell for a matter in which he was not charged.

He said: “He was given a copy of a code of practice and he used it to make paper aeroplanes so they charged him with criminal damage. He believed the book was given to him and it was his to do what he wanted to with it. You can spend any amount of money prosecuting or he could just replace the book.”

Mr Hall, of Anne Crescent, Durrington, Wiltshire, said he offered to replace the book immediately after he was made aware it was not his to keep.

Gerard Canavan, chair of the bench, said: “I’m sad to say that sometimes common sense is missing.”

Mr Hall has until January 16 to replace the book.