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Chronicle Live
Chronicle Live
David Huntley

Man bit police officer's fingers before going on mini crime spree in 'affluent' areas of Gateshead

A man bit a police officer's fingers before going on to commit a mini crime spree in Gateshead.

Mark Ward had been interfering with vehicles when police arrested him and he soon became aggressive towards officers whilst threatening to headbutt and bite them. He then managed to bite the fingers of an officer, causing injuries.

A month after the incident, the 44-year-old went on a spree of offending and stole from a number of vehicles in Gateshead before attempting to burgle a property. He was arrested after one resident found him hiding in a bush and he was identified from doorbell and CCTV footage.

Read more: Newcastle student allegedly murdered by boyfriend after he found messages to other men

On Tuesday, Ward appeared at Newcastle Crown Court via link from HMP Durham to be sentenced for assaulting an emergency worker, attempted burglary, theft from a vehicle and interfering with a vehicle. He had pleaded guilty to the assault charge but was found guilty of the other offences following a trial.

The court was told that on August 17 last year, police arrested Ward after he was found interfering with vehicles in Gateshead. Neil Pallister, prosecuting said: "Police went to the area and saw the defendant. They approached and searched him and a number of items were found. In the police vehicle he was spitting and had to be restrained as he was aggressive.

"He began threatening to headbutt and bite the officers...police had hold of his handcuffs and he dropped his head and bit the bottom two fingers of the officer's right hand, causing immediate pain."

A month after the assault, between September 26 and October 1, Ward committed further offences in Gateshead when he stole an iPad and binoculars from a Skoda, and interfered with an Audi and a Mercedes. He stole a pair of gloves from one car before attempting to enter a home on Joicey Road, but ran off when a dog began barking.

Mr Pallister said one resident saw Ward hiding in a bush and took a photograph of him before police arrested him nearby. The court was told doorbell and CCTV cameras identified Ward.

Jane Waugh, defending, said Ward has a "mental disorder" and that the attempted burglary was "committed on impulse". She said: "He suffers from depression, anxiety and PTSD and is somebody who has sought to self-medicate using drugs and alcohol. He is taking methadone in prison and is now stable and accessing help in the prison environment." She added that Ward was "ashamed of his behaviour".

Sentencing Ward, of no fixed address, Judge Sarah Mallett said he had been "targeting affluent residential areas" and jailed him for three and a half years.

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