James Tozer, The Daily Mail
Last updated at 16:35pm on 9th May 2008
He had only popped out to do a couple of errands for his disabled wife.
But 54-year-old Keith Hirst ended up spending the night in a police cell after being accused of throwing away an apple core.
Despite strenuously denying the allegation, the ex-plumber, who suffers from a heart condition, was taken into custody by up to five uniformed officers and had his DNA and fingerprints taken.
By then his worried family were calling local hospitals fearing he had been in an accident, and it wasn’t until nearly 11pm that he was able to ring them and explain what had happened.
After finally being released having spent 18 hours behind bars, Mr Hirst said yesterday he would fight to clear his name in a case which could leave him with a criminal record and cost the taxpayer thousands of pounds.
“The way I was treated you would have thought I had robbed a bank,” he said. “My family are law-abiding people, and I would help if I saw a gang of yobs attacking a police officer.
“But this kind of incident does not help in improving relations between the community and police. I suppose Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â£50 for an on-the-spot fine is easy money for them.”