A LONG-STANDING nuisance drunk has been released from custody after agreeing to comply with a community mental health order.

Paul Lee has been detained on remand in Durham Prison since his arrest for causing a drunken disturbance in the city, on March 20, which ended with him being arrested after entering the River Wear.

Durham Crown Court heard it took place the day after he stole a bottle of vodka in a break-in at a student accommodation block.

Lee also took items of clothing, including underwear, from the flat in Fonteyn Court, St Cuthbert’s Society, off Green Lane.

Chris Baker, prosecuting, said Lee is subject of a criminal behaviour order, the terms of which prohibit him from being intoxicated in a public place.

But, Mr Baker said, on March 20, “It was clear to officers that he was well intoxicated and there was an unfortunate incident where he ended up in the river.

“It took some time to get him out, with the help of the fire brigade.”

Mr Baker said it was Lee’s seventh breach of the criminal behaviour order, all for similar types of offending.

Lee, 43, of North Britton Court, Aycliffe Village, admitted breaching the order and burglary, when he appeared before magistrates, who committed the case to be sentenced at the crown court.

Following preparation of an updated background probation report on Lee, he appeared for sentence via video link to the prison.

Chris Morrison, representing Lee, told the court: “He has engaged well, at times, with the community mental health team, for what is a clear case of hypermania, indicative of bipolar disorder.

“He’s worked well with a lady who has now retired.

“He’s entitled to after care having been detained under the Mental Health Act previously.”

Recorder Craig Hassall agreed, but added: “What concerns me, in this case, is that I’m afraid he can’t pick and choose which workers he engages with and those he’s less willing to engage with.”

But the recorder said provided he does engage and takes his prescribed medication he was satisfied that it was the correct outcome.

Passing an 18-month community order, including the mental health treatment requirement, he urged Lee not to celebrate his release from custody as his criminal behaviour order remains in place.