A MAN running away from police tried to snatch a push bike off a nine-year-old boy to aid his escape.

Blackburn magistrates heard the boy clung onto his bike but was left traumatised by the incident.

And his mum told police he had needed lots of hugs and reassurance following the incident which had upset him deeply.

Alfie Dunston, 29, of Hudson Street, Burnley, pleaded guilty to damaging an electronic tag, using threatening behaviour and damaging a bike.

He was jailed for 12 weeks.

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said police called to a disturbance saw Dunston bending down removing his tag and when he saw them he ran off.

“During the chase he approached a child on a bike and tried to drag him off, shouting at him to let go,” said Miss Allan.

“The officers could hear the child’s distressed shouts and saw Dunston push him over before running off again. He was trying to get the bike to make his getaway.”

Miss Allan said the gears on the bike were damaged during the incident.

Mark Williams, defending, said some men had come to his client’s house at tea time on Friday.

“They assaulted him a the rear of his house and the police were called, possibly by a neighbour,” said Mr Williams.

“When he saw the police he panicked.”

Mr Williams said his client had significant mental health problems which were exacerbated by his misuse of drugs.

“If he had explained what had happened he may not have been arrested at all,” said Mr Williams.

“As he was being chased he became more and more panicked and tried to take this lad’s bike to ride off on it. It wasn’t a theft, it was part of his attempt to get away from the police.”

He said Dunston fully accepted the boy would have been frightened by a man running at him and shouting at him to get off his bike.

“It could have been charged as an assault or a robbery and these things were considered by the police,” said Mr Williams.

Dunston has a string of criminal convictions and court appearances going as far back as 2011.

But in more recent times he was hauled before magistrates after threatening to rape an ex-partner.

His victim was spat at and bit during the same attack, a court hearing last November was told. He was jailed for 12 weeks. And in February he was fined after he hauled a female police officer over a car bonnet.