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Sam Skeggs pepper-sprayed by police outside King’s Lynn train station

A drinker was pepper-sprayed after refusing to give his details to police while sipping from a can outside a town railway station.

West Norfolk man Sam Skeggs, 33, appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Thursday charged with two offences.

He pleaded guilty to obstructing a police constable in the execution of their duty, as well as engaging in anti-social behaviour by failing to give the officer his name and address.

Sam Skeggs was caught drinking outside Lynn’s railway station
Sam Skeggs was caught drinking outside Lynn’s railway station

Crown prosecutor Colette Harper told magistrates that at around 11.45pm on November 22, police were driving along Blackfriars Road in Lynn when they noticed a group of eight people sitting outside the railway station.

Skeggs was among them, and was drinking alcohol despite the area being covered by a Public Space Protection Order which prevents people from doing so.

When officers approached the group, Skeggs handed the alcohol container to another member of his group, who attempted to hide it.

The area outside the town’s railway station is a police priority area due to the number of complaints lodged by residents about people drinking in its vicinity. The defendant was therefore asked to provide his name, but he refused.

Skeggs was asked to provide his details once again, but he responded: “You can’t do that, I ain’t done nothing wrong.”

He was subsequently arrested, but while being handcuffed he pulled his arms away and raised them above his head. He was therefore taken to the ground and, because he continued to resist, was subjected to pepper spray.

Mitigating, duty solicitor George Sorrell said: “The defendant had been drinking a bit that evening – in fact, he was seen to be drinking from a can.

“His behaviour after that is something for which he paid a price at the time, because when you draw away and put your hands in the air, it is understandable that the officer wouldn’t know what he was doing – so he got a douse of the pepper spray.”

Mr Sorrell said that co-operating with the police would have saved Skeggs being pepper-sprayed, an uncomfortable trip to custody and a court appearance.

He said the defendant has since moved to Hunstanton, hoping to get away from “some influences in Lynn which are not the best for him”.

“Can I ask you to be as merciful as possible today – he does regret it,” the solicitor added.

“It was a bit silly, when you think about it, misbehaving on Blackfriars Street, which is only a stone’s throw away from the police station anyway.”

Magistrates, chaired by Alan Hayes, fined Skeggs £80.

He will also pay £105 in legal costs and a £32 victim surcharge.

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