Fury over ruined romance

Crime story
Crime story

A MAN with a long criminal record exacted a shattering revenge on police after an officer allegedly thwarted a romance.

Robert James claimed that a new girlfriend decided she wanted nothing more to do with him after the pair were approached by a PCSO who “introduced” himself while they were out walking.

The 34-year-old was so enraged that after a heavy drinking session he took a bike chain and carried out an early-hours attack on Leigh Police Station, smashing three plate glass windows.

James pleaded guilty to causing £600 of criminal damage when he appeared before Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court this week.

Jobless James was given a six months long community order which included supervision and an 8pm - 8am curfew.

Compensation owed to Greater Manchester Police will be taken fortnightly from his benefits but the Bench made no order for costs or victim surcharge. Prosecutor Katie Beattie said that officers had been on duty inside the locked section of Leigh Police Station during the early hours of October 16 when they heard a loud banging noise.

They were so alarmed by the situation that one drew his Taser machine in readiness as he ran down a corridor to the front reception.

When he challenged James, who had a cycle chain wrapped around his hand, he turned away and was about to leave.

But having been threatened with being tasered, James, who “looked puzzled but was clearly intoxicated,” agreed to stand still and be handcuffed.

Officers then noticed that three windows in sliding doors in the front reception desk had been smashed or cracked.

She confirmed that James had been released from prison having been jailed last year and had 49 convictions from 150 offences.

When interviewed, James, of Kermishaw Nook in Leigh, said that he was “sick of police coming to my house”.

James said: “I have just come out of prison and I keep having police coming around to my house ... so I decided I may as well come and knock on your front door instead.”

He had drunk a bottle of vodka with a friend and had reacted after finding himself walking home past the police station. Tim McArdle, defending, said that James had fought a long battle against anxiety and depression.

He had been beaten by his mother as a boy and had been raised through the care system.

But the “most significant” development to have come from this “foolish” incident was the fact that a recent negative drugs test confirmed he was clear of opiates or cocaine.

He said: “Mr James insists that since being released from prison he has been visited regularly by the police.

“He was particularly embarrassed to be out walking with a new lady friend and be approached by a PCSO who made a point of introducing himself in front of the woman as the new PCSO for the area and she took a dim view of it.”

Mr McArdle added that Mr James had visited a psychologist during his latest spell in prison, which he had found very helpful.

He was now attempting to arrange further counselling outside of the prison system because he acknowledged he needed help.