A man has been jailed for six months for spitting at and trying to bite police officers during incidents in Ballymena.
Jailing David Surgenor (22), whose address was given as Old Cullybackey Road, Ballymena, istrict Judge Peter King said he had no hesitation in sending anyone who spits on police to prison.
Previously, a defence lawyer said Surgenor was so good at football he could have become a professional.
Last summer he had been on the verge of representing Northern Ireland in the ‘Homeless World Cup’ which uses football to inspire homeless people to change their lives.
However, Surgenor, who has 132 convictions, failed to make the team which came 13th out of 44 in Glasgow, because of his drinking and re-offending.
He appeared at Ballymena Magistrates Court on Thursday in relation to a string of offences including assaulting police; theft and making off without paying for food and drink in restaurants in Ballymena.
A prosecutor said on January 7 this year Surgenor’s mother called police saying she wished to revoke his bail. He became aggressive and threatened to spit at police and tried to headbutt an officer requiring limb restraints to be put on.
On January 9 plain-clothed police officers were in a coffee shop and spotted him stealing a sandwich and on February 20 Surgenor and others tucked into food and downed drink in a “drunken escapade” running up a bill of almost £100 at two Ballymena eateries before fleeing without paying.
Surgenor also admitted assaulting three police officers and resisting one of them in the execution of his duty.
At 6.39pm staff at ‘Rack n Roll’ said males left without paying for food and drink worth £24.20 and then at 8.54pm males also left ‘Rococo’ without settling a bill for food and drink for £69.55.
Later, after descriptions of the men were circulated, Surgenor was spotted drinking in the bar of the Adair Arms Hotel and when he was spotted at Ballymoney Street despite attempting to make off on foot he was detained.
He struggled and said he was not going with police and told a police officer: “I’m going to bite you you f--king b--tard”.
CS spray was used which “had little effect” according to the prosecutor, and Surgenor was then batoned on the thigh and handcuffs applied. He was spitting and shouting: “F--k it, I might as well get done for resisting as well”.
Defence barrister Andrew Moriarty said the defendant was a promising footballer and said “one of the greatest crimes of life” is to see talent being wasted but that alcohol had been his downfall.
Jailing Surgenor for six months, Judge King said he had been persuaded in the past not to imprison him and as a result of that he re-offended and spat at and tried to bite police officers.