A drunk Pembroke man stole a taxi driver’s phone while running off without paying his fare after damaging the meter.

Darren Thomas Briggs, of Woodbine Terrace, The Green, appeared before Haverfordwest magistrates on Tuesday, November 26.

Briggs, 29, pleaded guilty to making off from a taxi without payment, criminal damage, theft and assaulting an emergency worker.

Prosecutor Vaughan Pritchard-Jones said a taxi-driver returned to collect Briggs at 10.30pm on November 6, after taking to a Pembroke Dock pub earlier that evening.

An argument developed about the fare as Briggs was driven back, and the driver stopped the car.

Mr Pritchard-Jones said: “The defendant became even more angry. He got out of the taxi and grabbed hold of the meter on the dashboard and pulled it.”

The meter came out of its casing and was held on by its wires. Briggs then ran off with the driver’s mobile phone, and without paying the £31.90 fare.

He was found standing near Pembroke castle. Police rang the taxi driver’s number and discovered the phone upside down on a nearby wall.

Mr Prichard-Jones added Briggs threw a glass of water over a custody sergeant for no apparent reason when arrested and taken to Haverfordwest police station.

“There was no injury, but his shirt was soaking wet, as was his face.”

Katy Hanson, defending, said Briggs had no previous convictions and had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

She added Briggs recalled an argument, as he believed he had paid the driver for both trips.

“He had been drinking to excess, which he says was out of character for him. He recently had some personal problems, which perhaps contributed to the way he behaved on that day.

“He realises his behaviour was not what it should have been. He is embarrassed and apologises to those concerned.”

Magistrates imposed a 12-month community order with 150 hours of unpaid work.

Briggs was ordered to pay £226.90 in compensation, costs and a surcharge.