A young Wiganer who drove a rental van without permission and then assaulted a PC as he tried to escape arrest has been given a community order.
Brett Welch, from Scholes, poured out his remorse from the dock as he was sentenced to intensive rehabilitation work with the probation service and unpaid work at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court.
The court was told Welch, 23, got behind the wheel of a rented van which only his mother had permission to drive and then ran when police spotted him in the area on July 19. A struggle ensued when he was caught and Welch, of Brookhouse, bent a PC’s thumb backwards.
The court was told Welch was also on the Sex Offenders’ Register and had breached its terms by failing to notify the authorities of a change of address.
Welch pleaded guilty to all three offences.
Prosecuting, Tess Kenyon said: “Officers were on patrol when they saw a white Transit van speed past them with three occupants.
“They found the vehicle on Belle Green Lane and a taxi drove past with three men in it. The taxi halted and Welch got out.
“As officers went to speak to him he turned and ran. He threw away the key for the van and was caught. There was a struggle and as he was calling for assistance on the radio the defendant grabbed the officer’s thumb and bent it back. He also tried to grab the equipment on the officer’s vest.”
An impact statement read to the court said the injured thumb was still swollen and very sore, leaving him unable to drive or grip a pen, hours after the incident.
The policeman also wrote he would be unable to enjoy his hobby of rock climbing, which he used to relax away from working on the front line, for a while.
The court also heard that Welch had been ordered to sign the register for sex offenders in 2017 but had been living at his mother’s address rather than one the police had on Lower Longshoot for some months.
Defending, Karen Moorfield told the bench Welch was extremely apologetic and understood he was responsible for what had happened by trying to flee the scene. She said he struggled while being arrested as he was in a headlock he thought was too tight and was trying to release the officer’s grip a little.
As the sentence was being read Welch put his feelings about his own actions into words from the dock.
He told the bench: “I know I keep making mistakes, but I will never do it again. I didn’t understand the severity and importance of changing the address and I apologise. I’m not a violent man, I wouldn’t hurt a police officer or anybody. I will stop making these stupid mistakes.”
The bench gave him a 12-month community order with 25 days of rehabilitation activity requirements and 100 hours of unpaid work.
He was banned from driving for four months and told to pay £50 compensation to the police officer, £85 in costs and a £85 victim’s surcharge.