A CHRISTIAN street preacher who has been arrested and hauled before the courts on a number of occasions claims police are discriminating against him on the grounds of his beliefs.

The latest case against Mike Overd was thrown out by Taunton Magistrates' Courts on a technicality after police failed to complete the paperwork correctly.

Mr Overd, 54, of Creech St Michael, has faced a string of charges in recent years and has always been found not guilty - apart from twice, when the verdicts were overturned on appeal.

The latest case was brought after Mr Overd failed to leave Bridgwater town centre during an incident in January after police told him to move on, accusing him of anti-social behaviour. He has been awarded costs from central funds.

After the case was discontinued, he said: "I'll take whatever - God gives the victory.

"But it's bad that I'm still being harassed for the same reason.

"I was just preaching when a handful of troublemakers started becoming aggressive - one man threatened to rip my face off.

"One of the complainants reported me to police just for looking at them.

"I refused to accept a Section 35 order (requesting him to leave the area) so I was arrested."

Mr Overd added: "Freedom of speech is supposed to be one of the most important freedoms we have.

"But this is happening more and more around the country.

"I'm the most arrested Christian preacher in the land. I'm not proud of it, but I should never be in this position - the authorities have no shame and they're misusing the law."

Mr Overd said the police are now going after him using anti-social behaviour laws, whereas they previously used public order legislation.

He said Christians are being discriminated against as the police failed to take action against Muslim street preachers.

"We see some of the hatred coming from some of their lips," he added.

"Yet I'm being accused of being a hate preacher.

"I'm sick of it for my country and my town. It's one man against the authorities at the moment."

An Avon and Somerset Police spokesperson confirmed the latest case against Mr Overd failed on a "technicality" after the paperwork was "not completed correctly".

She added: "Mr Overd has made an official complaint to the police. That is ongoing and is currently being investigated, so we are unable to comment at this stage."