AN ARRESTED man with a broken jaw spat blood and spittle into a police officer's face because he was annoyed at being left in a van, a court heard.

As he lashed out at Carlisle's Durranhill Police HQ, 29-year-old Stephen Wright was in pain and "heavily under the influence of cocaine and alcohol," the city's Rickergate Magistrates Court was told.

The defendant, of Pennine Way, Harraby, admitted assaulting an emergency worker.

George Shelley, prosecuting, said Wright was arrested on the evening of August 11 last year over an unrelated incident.

After being put in a police van 'containment unit' he was taken to Durranhill Police HQ.

"There was a wait to get into custody and the defendant remained in the van," said Mr Shelley.

Wright was verbally and physically aggressive. He was told he would be allowed out of the van only if he moderated his behaviour but he failed to calm down so the door was shut again, said Mr Shelley.

At one point, he asked to see a medical professional. He was warned the longer he "messed about" the longer it would take to book him into custody.

Released from the van after 30 minutes, he was taken to the custody area.

On the way there, officers saw Wright gather saliva into his mouth before he first swore at an officer and then spat into his face.

"It ran down the officer's face-mask," added Mr Shelley. The officer recalled how spittle and blood splattered his face-mask, stab-vest and forearm. Mr Shelley added: "The offence is aggravated by the spitting, particularly in these covid times."

A probation officer who interviewed the defendant said he was more a binge drinker rather than somebody who was alcohol dependent.

"He tells me he was actually at the time suffering from a broken jaw and a broken ankle," said the probation officer.

"He was heavily under the influence of alcohol and cocaine... and he was very angry when someone else was taken out of the van and he was left in. He felt he should have been dealt with quicker because of the pain and distress he was in. He lashed out but he now feels remorseful."

John Smith, defending, said: "He was under stress, having been injured and having waited in the van for 30 minutes." District Judge John Temperley rejected the suggestion that the police officer suffered no harm.

"It's a disgusting and repugnant offence," he said.

"While there's no physical harm, psychological harm is inevitable.

"Spitting in a police station at a police officer is even worse. They're doing their jobs."

But noting Wright's injury and his mental health issues, District Judge Temperley said these had saved him from jail.

He imposed a 12-month community order with a 90-day alcohol abstinence order, as well as 20 days of rehabilitation.

Wright must pay £200 compensation to the police officer he spat at.