A FORMER homeless man has been spared jail after attacking a police officer while under the influence of drugs.

James Smith, 46, lashed out at PCSO Brahim Faci in Angel Place, Worcester, after taking Black Mamba, a court heard.

He admitted a charge of assault by beating, when he appeared before magistrates on Thursday.

Gary Harper, defending, said his client had been found accommodation after 20 years on the streets, and activating a suspended sentence for a previous offence would “put him back to square one.”

Mr Harper said Smith, who now lives at Abbeydore Guest House on Barbourne Road, had had long-term issues with drugs, was being prescribed methadone and working with Swanswell addiction centre.

He said his dosage of the heroin substitute had been reduced suggesting Smith was getting over his addictions.

Collette Orton, prosecuting, said, on February 17 at 6.50pm, Smith was found by PCSO Faci and another officer unconscious and lying at the bottom of the steps to a restaurant in Angel Place.

She said he was startled by the officers as they tried to wake him up and explain an ambulance was en route.

The PCSO put his hands up “to prevent Mr Smith hitting him,” she said and the defendant had struck his left hand “causing momentary pain but no lasting injury.”

Mr Harper described his client as being “out and about in town” on the day in question, after being “given something to smoke” by a friend.

The solicitor said Smith had not been sure what the drug was and later described the former legal high as “a terrible drug”.

Mr Harper said his client had been startled when the police disturbed him.

He said: “You never quite know what is going to happen when you are asleep [on the streets].”

Smith was fined £140 in fines and costs and three months was added to the period of his suspended sentence for a previous offence.

Simon Freebairn, chairman of magistrates, said: “This is your very last chance."