Dirty protest on steps of court costs £1,200

File photo dated 17/1/2017 of workers clear up after muck was sprayed on the steps of Derby Crown Court. Charles Hirons has pleaded guilty at the same court to criminal damage in relation to the incident. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday April 5, 2017. See PA story COURTS Muck. Photo credit should read: Alexander Britton/PA Wire
File photo dated 17/1/2017 of workers clear up after muck was sprayed on the steps of Derby Crown Court. Charles Hirons has pleaded guilty at the same court to criminal damage in relation to the incident. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Wednesday April 5, 2017. See PA story COURTS Muck. Photo credit should read: Alexander Britton/PA Wire

A 49-year-old man has been ordered to pay more than £1,200 after spreading “muck” on the steps of a crown court.

Charles Hirons was accused of a “planned and premeditated” offence which was a “deliberate insult to justice”.

Hirons pleaded guilty to criminal damage and apologised for dumping bark chip outside Derby Crown Court – adding his actions were motivated by a dispute over the judicial system.

Outside the court building, Hirons was given a parking ticket as he was speaking to reporters, adding this was “salt in the wound”.

Prosecuting, John Cooper told Derby Magistrates’ Court the protest had a “detrimental effect” on the East Midlands city.

Witnesses saw Hirons drive up to the court building on Morledge with a tractor to coat the steps with bark chip at around 7am on January 17.

A red Massey Ferguson was abandoned on the pavement along with a teal spreader, and council workers had to clear dirt from the steps in the hours following the spreading.

Police initially referred to the material deposited as “muck”.

Defending himself, Hirons said: “First of all, I would like to apologise to the bench unreservedly.

“This is the culmination of a problem that has been going on for 28 years and I have been ignored persistently by official bodies.”

He added that he had cordoned off the area before the protest to ensure it was safe and had six people on hand to clean it up.

Chairman of the bench Bernard Peters ordered Hirons, of Draycott, Derbyshire, to pay £446 in fines, compensation of £667.16 to Derby City Council for the clean-up operation and prosecution costs.