A MAN who headbutted a police officer after stealing a car and bank cards in Worcester has avoided jail.

Ashley Keyte, 35 and of Queen’s Street, Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to assaulting an emergency worker, fraud by false representation by using bank credit cards, the theft of bank cards and car keys and the taking of a vehicle without consent on November 2, 2020.

He was given an 18-month community order and ordered to pay £426 compensation to his victims.

Prosecutor May Li said Lucy Williams had taken her son to Perdiswell Leisure Centre where her property was stolen from a locker.

Her bag was found but not her purse containing bank cards and car keys and then Ms Williams discovered her Hyundai car had been stolen.

While cancelling her bank cards she was told a transaction had just been made at the Bulls Head Inn, High Street, Inkberrow.

The court heard two men had ordered vodka drinks and a bottle of Champagne using her credit card, fleeing the scene when they saw the police arrive.

One of the men - the defendant Keyte - returned and was questioned by an officer and gave a false name.

When police challenged him, Keyte headbutted the officer and had to be restrained.

In a victim statement Ms Williams said: “I had to have the car valeted to get rid of the feel that somebody else had driven it.

“I have suffered financially as I have had to change the locks at my home and my place of work, and had new locks fitted to the car. I have also been inconvenienced through the loss of three bank cards and replacing other items contained in my purse.”

The prosecutor told the court that Keyte had also entered a number of supermarkets and stolen alcohol items on four occasions.

On September 3 at Asda, Bromsgrove, he stole bottles of vodka and Jack Daniels to the value of £162.50, and on September 26 at the Co-op store, Winchcombe, he stole four bottles of vodka and on a second occasion on the same day stole four further bottles of alcohol, value unknown. Keyte targeted the same store on October 14 and stole alcohol to the value of £77.98.

Caroline Williams, defending, said Keyte had received a number of custodial sentences in recent months.

“He is somebody who would benefit from formal help from the probation service and other agencies to prevent further offending,” she submitted.

“He left Worcester Magistrates Court before proceedings had been completed because he disagreed with the way a pre-sentence report was to be conducted. He felt he wanted to take part in a community-based penalty and he felt that everything was being rushed at that court.

“He lacks the ability to be able to solve problems in the correct manner and he takes matters into his own hands.”

Kathryn Bailey, chair of the magistrates, said to Keyte: “We’ve heard that you previously have had good compliance with probation and we are dealing with your sentence by means of an extended community order that lasts for 18 months and consists of 30 programme days, so that you can address some of your problems.”

The justices ordered that Keyte should pay £186 compensation to Ms Williams, £78 to Midcounties Co-op and £162 to Asda in Bromsgrove.