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Man held over poppy seller attack

A 39-year-old man has been arrested in connection with an assault on a former soldier as he was selling poppies in a town centre, police have said.

Sergeant Chris Mounteney, who works for the charity Soldiers Off The Street, was collecting money for the Poppy Appeal when the attack happened around 8.30am on Saturday in Abington Street, Northampton.

He said he first saw his attacker staring at him in the street before he approached him.

Speaking to the Northampton Chronicle and Echo, he said: "This guy was standing there eyeballing me and then ducked down the side of a vehicle and snuck round and then spat at me and gave me lots of verbal abuse.

"I said to him 'look I don't want any trouble, I'm just here to raise money in remembrance of people who have died in combat'."

Sgt Mounteney, who spent time in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, said two other collectors came over to him and as he was speaking to them the man threatened to hit him in the face.

He said the experience had left him feeling "quite shocked" as he expected such an incident to happen in a combat situation but not in his hometown.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire Police said: "A 39-year-old man of no fixed abode was arrested in Northampton town centre on Saturday in connection with an assault on a former soldier who was raising money for the Poppy appeal.

"The man was taken into custody at Campbell Square police station and has been detained under the Mental Health Act."

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