A YOB who battered a policeman after being found with a stash of drugs has been spared prison.

Damon McDowell, of Renfield Road, Renfrew, was seen acting suspiciously with three pals in Paisley’s Mansionhouse Road.

They ran away from police and 20-year-old McDowell, who was carrying cannabis and cocaine at the time, managed to hide the drugs before officers got to him.

McDowell was allowed to go on his way after being searched but officers caught him in the same spot minutes later, after he had picked up the drugs from where he had stashed them.

He then lashed out at PC Ryan O’Donnell.

The details first emerged last month when McDowell appeared in the dock at Paisley Sheriff Court for a pre-trial hearing.

He pleaded guilty to three charges – assaulting PC O’Donnell, being in possession of cannabis resin and being in possession of cocaine.

Procurator fiscal depute Claire Rowan said the incident took place on March 9 last year, with McDowell being handcuffed and placed in a police van after assaulting PC O’Donnell.

McDowell was searched again after being taken to a police station, with officers finding two bags of cannabis and two bags of cocaine.

Sheriff Tom McCartney called for background reports to be prepared ahead of sentencing and adjourned the case for that to be done.

When McDowell returned to the dock last week to learn his fate, he was placed on a Community Payback Order which will see him supervised by social workers for a year and carrying out 140 hours of unpaid work in the next six months.

Sheriff McCartney said: “This is particularly serious as it involves an assault on a police officer and the court has to take into consideration whether a sentence of detention has to be imposed. I have decided, after considering the social work report and all that’s been said, that I can appropriately deal with this by way of a direct alternative to detention.”

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