A MAN who spat in the face of the police officer who was trying to detain him near Taunton has been given a community order.

Paul Layton, 48, who lives in Stratton near Bude appeared in Taunton Crown Court on Friday (January 10), accused of assaulting two emergency workers and failing to provide a breath specimen.

On June 26 last year received reports of a man driving a white Kia who was believed to be driving while over the limit in Norton Fitzwarren.

Speaking for the prosecution, Harry Ahuja said: "Officers traced the car and followed it to a car park in Cotford St Luke.

"The defendant was drinking in a beer garden of a restaurant before getting back in his car and setting off again."

When Layton was pulled over by the officers, one male and one female, they said it was clear he was intoxicated.

When the officers asked if he had consumed any alcohol, he said he had 'had a few', and when officers started searching him he became aggressive.

Mr Ahuja continued: "He refused to put on handcuffs during the officers' restraint and became violent.

"He verbally abused the officers, kicked the female officer in the thigh and spat in the eye of the male officer."

Layton continued to resist arrest, kicking out while he was on the ground, and at the police station refused to give a breath sample.

Mr Ahuja said: "When he was told his actions the following day he said he had blacked out but was disgusted by his behaviour."

It also emerged that Layton did not have a valid licence or insurance.

In a statement read out in court, the male officer said being spat at was 'worse than being physically assaulted'.

"Just because I am a police officer, I should not be assaulted in the line of duty," he said.

Patrick Mason, defending, said Layton was appalled by his behaviour.

Sentencing, Judge David Ticehurst said: "The way you behaved that day was dreadful.

"You are 48 and you should have known a lot better."

Layton was handed a two-year Community Order, told he will undertake 100 hours of unpaid work, and carry out 20 days of Rehabilitative Activity Requirement days to address his drinking.

He was also ordered to pay £250 each to the officers he assaulted, and to pay £400 costs as well as an £85 statutory surcharge.