AN anti-mosque protester avoided jail after he was found to be carrying cocaine following a street demonstration.
Warren Faulkner also offered to “sort out” his differences with a police officer when they clashed during the protest in Millfield, Sunderland.
Newcastle Crown Court was told Faulkner was among a group demonstrating about plans to build a mosque in St Marks Road.
The 42-year-old, of Webb Avenue, Westlea, Seaham, was then spotted by an officer in a back lane shouting “come on, come on, bring it on”.
The court heard Faulkner tried to trip up the officer, who was separating the right-wing demonstrators from the anti-fascist group. As he was being detained, Webb told the officer: “I will give you my phone number, and we can sort this out without your uniform on”.
Prosecutor Michael Bunch said: “Following this, a small packet of cocaine was found in his trouser pocket, with a street value of £34.”
Faulkner, who had pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to possession of a controlled substance with intent to supply, and a public order offence, claimed he was only carrying the drug after someone asked him to keep it for them.
Vic Laffey, defending, said Faulkner had lost his job as a result of being brought before the court.
He said: “This was a straightforward agreement with the friend to keep the drugs, with no suggestion at all that he would make money or a profit from them. He intended to give the drugs back.”
Judge Simon Hickey QC sentenced Faulkner to six months in prison, suspended for 12 months. He also ordered him to do 100 hours’ unpaid work and abide by a supervision order.
Judge Hickey said: “You were there to deliberately antagonise the other group, and you offered to sort it out with him if he removed his uniform.”
The court was told Faulkner had 22 convictions, his last back in 2002.