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Drunk man said he was a Hell's Angel

56-year-old raged at police who tried to help him

John Garvey

John Garvey


01635 886628

A DRUNK man caused chaos on the streets of Hungerford while police frantically searched for him.

But when officers found self-described “Hell’s Angel” Stephen Cannings, their troubles were just beginning.

Meanwhile, residents were coming out of their homes to witness the commotion.

The “tale of woe” was recounted to Reading magistrates on Thursday, February 15, who heard how members of the public first alerted the neighbourhood police team at 7.40pm.

They reported a man stumbling in the road and swearing at the top of his voice in Priory Avenue.

Officers duly attended the scene, but there was no sign of 56-year-old Mr Cannings.

Lesley Gilmore, prosecuting, said they were then directed to a similar disturbance in nearby Bulpit Lane.

She read one officer’s statement, which said: “I’d gone almost all the way round until I saw a man slumped on a fence.

“He was stumbling around, struggling to stand up.

“I tried to engage with him but got no response. His eyes were glazed.”

Mr Cannings, who lives at Lancaster Close, Hungerford, then began shouting and swearing outside the nearby homes and was warned to keep his voice down, the court heard.

But Mrs Gilmore said the police became concerned for Mr Cannings’ own safety as he lurched into the road, oblivious to any traffic.

She added: “They thought he was in danger of falling in front of a vehicle, or falling victim to crime, so they offered to take him home.

“But the defendant wouldn’t give them his address.

“At one point he suggested he should fight both officers as he was a hard man and a member of the Hell’s Angels.

“He was clenching his fists and swinging his arms around.”

Another officer said in a statement read to the court: “He was all over the place.

“One minute he said he liked us and respected us – the next minute he wanted to fight us.”

But by now, said Ms Gilmore, residents were coming out of their homes to see what all the noise was and, when Mr Cannings stumbled into someone’s front garden, the officers intervened.

She went on: “He then tried to punch one officer in the face and had to be taken to the ground, where he continued resisting.

“He had to be handcuffed and continued resisting until the van came to take him away.

“And that, Your Worships, is the tale of woe in this case.”

Mr Cannings admitted being drunk and disorderly in a public place on January 29.

He also has previous convictions, the court was told.

Mr Cannings, who was representing himself, told the court: “I don’t remember anything about it, to be honest with you.”

Magistrates made Mr Cannings subject to a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £85 costs, plus a statutory victim services surcharge of £20.

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