Belfast Telegraph

Man discovered licking ground in Belfast given conditional discharge

By Alan Erwin

A man discovered licking the ground on a busy Belfast city centre street has been given a conditional discharge.

Alan Ritchie, 33, shouted and swore at police and members of the public after being spotted on Monday afternoon.

Prosecutors said he also told officers who arrested him: "I'm bringing you to a police ambulance, man."

Ritchie, of no fixed address, admitted a charge of disorderly behaviour.

Belfast Magistrates' Court heard a PSNI patrol saw him licking the ground at Ann Street.

He became increasingly agitated and was searched, but no drugs were found on him.

Crown lawyer Natalie Pinkerton said he also directed verbal abuse at passers-by in the area.

Defence solicitor Pearse MacDermott confirmed Ritchie has a history of drug problems.

"He's a man with difficulties," he told the court.

Mr MacDermott acknowledged it was "a very unusual set of circumstances" which led to his client spending a night in custody.

"It's his first time in court for disorderly behaviour, he's normally compliant with police," the solicitor added.

Recognising Ritchie had been kept in prison overnight, District Judge Fiona Bagnall imposed a 12-month conditional discharge.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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