A DRUNKEN man wrenched the door handle off an ambulance, insulted paramedics and caused £200 worth of damage, a court heard.

The ambulance had to be taken off the road for a day after the incident in Darlington on April 29.

Barry Titcombe, of Alwyn Road, Darlington, pleaded guilty to criminal damage when he appeared before the town’s magistrates’ court yesterday (Thursday, November, 6).

The court heard that Titcombe’s brother had broken his arm and was receiving treatment from paramedics in the back of the ambulance in when he repeatedly tried to pull the doors open.

He pulled the handle off, resulting in a £200 repair bill and the ambulance having to be taken off the road to be fixed.

Prosecuting, Hari Jandoo said: “The defendant tried to get into the rear of the vehicle, along with some other males.

“Profanities were thrown; he was abusive to paramedic staff simply trying to treat someone with serious injuries.”

District Judge Kristina Harrison said the offence was particularly serious because it involved an ambulance.

She asked Titcombe to explain his actions and he replied: “I did try and get into it a few times, I was only concerned about my brother.

“I did try the door a few times, I was intoxicated and was maybe a bit aggressive.”

Judge Harrison told him: “You do need to learn that you can’t behave in this manner to ambulance staff because it affects how they can treat people and in this case the ambulance had to be taken off the road.”

Brenda Robertson of the probation service said the 24-year-old chef, has been in full-time employment for nine years and was suitable for a community sentence of unpaid work.

Judge Harrison sentenced him to 40 hours unpaid work.

She also ordered him to pay £200.17 compensation for the damage caused to the North East Ambulance Service vehicle.