A MAN being arrested over the taking and crashing of his mother’s car struggled with a police officer and tried to remove his taser weapon from his equipment vest.

Police were looking for Leon Savage after his mother reported the loss of her car keys and the Audi A1 vehicle, not for the first time, at 8.20am on Monday September 7, last year

Durham Crown Court was told the defendant had been living away but returned to his mother’s home, in Seaham, a few days earlier.

Ian West, prosecuting, said Savage’s mother was in the habit of keeping her car keys in her handbag as she had issues with him in the past for taking the vehicle.

Shortly after it was reported missing on September7, police were told of a collision with a parked work van outside the owner’s address in Seaham. Debris on the ground indicated it was collided into by a white Audi.

Mr West said an officer went to an address in Fox Street where the damaged Audi was found.

Inquiries were made at a nearby house where Savage was found sleeping.

When he was awoken, he denied having driven the car, although he accepted taking it without permission.

After the officer spoke to Savage’s mother he returned to arrest the defendant, who resisted, adopting a boxer’s stance and tried to punch the officer, who sprayed him with incapacitant.

During a struggle on the floor the officer became aware his taser device was removed from its holster by Savage, but he managed to prise it back from the defendant.

Savage was again sprayed with the taser and when other officers arrived he was arrested.

Although the officer suffered only minor injuries he stated it could have been much more serious.

Durham’s Chief Constable, Jo Farrell, said in her own statement read to the court that nine officers are injured in the force area each week, affecting morale and available manpower, when absences accrue due to attacks.

Savage, 26, formerly of Wordsworth Avenue, Seaham, admitted assaulting an emergency worker, aggravated vehicle taking, possessing a prohibited weapon and possessing heroin, recovered from him on arrest.

Vic Laffey, for Savage, said “fortunately” the officer’s injuries were not serious, while accepting it could have been worse.

Mr Laffey said Savage is not heavily convicted and has rarely “troubled” the crown court.

Judge James Adkin told Savage removing the officer’s taser device was, “a really stupid thing to do.”

He imposed a 15-month prison sentence but said he could suspend it for two months due to Savage’s limited criminal record.

The defendant must also complete 30 probation-run rehabilitation activity days and observe a four-month 7pm to 7am home curfew, once he confirms an approved address, at the court on Friday.