A MAN who spat at a police officer in Basingstoke town centre last weekend has been give a suspended prison sentence.

Andrew Joseph Pepper, of Attwood Close, admitted assaulting PC Daniel Tompkins in Winchester Street on Saturday (August 1).

The 45-year-old was given an eight-week prison sentence, which has been suspended for 12 months.

He also pleaded guilty to a public order offence - using threatening or abusive behaviour - and damaging a police vehicle at the Police Investigation Centre after being arrested.

As well as the suspended sentence, Pepper, who also goes by the name Trevor John Barrow, was asked to pay a total of £250 in compensation, but was not ordered to pay costs or a victim surcharge.

The court heard how the emergency services need extra protection during the pandemic because of the risk of transmission of Covid-19, but also that the sentence should be suspended, because his fixed accommodation, and his work with drug and alcohol rehabilitation agencies, had been working.

Basingstoke Magistrates' Court also heard on Monday that there was a "realistic prospect of rehabilitation", court documents show.

Pepper will be under supervision for the next 12 months, including having a curfew of 6pm-6am and an electronic tag, for the next ten weeks.

His guilty plea was taken into consideration when chair of magistrates, Tony Madden, issued his sentence.