A NUISANCE 999 caller who threatened to “slice up” a police officer has been spared jail – for a third time.

Simon Darlington already had previous convictions for similar nuisance calls when he rang Durham police and requested a police officer.

When a call handler asked why, he said he “wanted to attack one”.

Darlington, who was drunk when he made the call, did receive a visit at his home from police officers, although not to deal with his apparent complaint, but to arrest him.

Prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, Rachel Masters said the defendant, who was asleep in his front room, admitted being the owner of the mobile phone that was used to make the call, but said he could not remember all of the conversation.

Ms Masters described how Darlington had received two previous suspended sentences in 2012 and last year for similar malicious communications and had also threatened to “kill someone” during an incident in which he was branding a kitchen knife.

The 41-year-old, of Pierremont Crescent, Darlington, admitted a charge of sending an offensive message via electronic communication on November 17 last year.

Peter Furness, mitigating, said: “He has a long-standing resentment against the police and the catalyst is alcohol.

“When he is sober and confronted over what he has done he is mortified.”

The court was told that Darlington was about to begin a five day detox programme and had also been allowed to continue living at his current home, despite a previous threat of eviction by his landlord.

Mr Furness said he was making a conscious effort to distance himself from a circle of friends that had a negative effect on him.

Judge Peter Armstrong said: “These sort of calls are a waste of everyone's time and effort.”

The judge said he was prepared to give Darlington another chance and imposed a further suspended sentence of three months jail, suspended for two years.

The sentence, imposed concurrently so it will run alongside an existing suspended sentence, effectively means Darlington has to stay out of trouble until January 2016 if he is not to be breached again.

Judge Armstrong said the defendant would be subject to a three month 9pm to 9am curfew and be supervised by the probation service for 12 months