A FORMER professional footballer shouted "catch me if you can" to a female police officer after she spotted him urinating beside a supermarket.

Ex-Blackburn Rovers and Clarets player Kevin Hird, 52, was today reprimanded by Burnley magistrates after he played "fast and loose" and "should have known better" with Police Constable Siobhan George in Colne town centre.

Hird, who had drunk six pints, was spotted urinating near to the Co-Op store, in Market Street, by PC George at around 10.40pm on December 16, the Burnley court heard.

Prosecutor Bill Moore said the officer drove up beside Hird, to speak to him, but he walked off quickly down the street.

PC George, who was driving a police van, steered the vehicle around Colne's one-way system and came across Hird again on Windy Bank, once more attempting to urinate.

She was about to approach the van when he walked over, reached through the window and touched her on the cheek.

Hird, who lives in Colne Road, Kelbrook, then ran off, saying "catch me if you can", the court heard.

Mr Moore said while there was no physical injury, the young female officer had still alarmed and distressed by Hird's actions.

Initially Hird had pleaded not guilty to assaulting PC George but he admitted the charge today before he was due to stand trial.

James Young, defending, said his client accepted touching the officer on the cheek - and that this would have caused alarm to the officer concerned.

The court heard that Hird, who has no previous convictions, had been drinking with his partner in Colne town centre - and while he was "fresh" he would say he was not drunk.

Later when he realised what he had done, he attended Colne police station and wrote a note, apologising to the officer for what he had done and for "wasting police time."

Mr Young said his client had never been sent off during a 1,500 game professional football career and had only received one yellow card, demonstrating he was not a violent man on the football field or off it.

Magistrates reprimanded Hird for playing "fast and loose" with the officer and warned him he "should know better at his age."

Hird was conditionally discharged for six months and ordered to pay £60 costs.

No compensation was ordered for the officer, given the nature of the assault.

The court was told that Hird was now a special needs teacher and realised the impact that his conviction may have on his new career.

Defender or midfielder Hird, who played for Rovers between 1973 and 1979 and later turned out for Leeds United and Burnley, between 1984 and 1986, before retiring, also provides coaching for youngsters.