An afternoon that was supposed to be spent running errands for his disabled wife turned into an ordeal involving an overnight stay in jail for a 54-year-old British man.
Keith Hirst had just come out of the post office in Swinton, England, last month when a police officer accused him of throwing an apple core on the ground, The Daily Mail reported.
Despite Hirst’s denial, up to five uniformed officers arrested the ex-plumber, who suffers from a heart condition, and locked him up for 18 hours. He was fingerprinted and had a DNA sample taken.
It was hours before Hirst’s worried family, who had been calling hospitals thinking he had been in an accident, found out what happened to him, The Mail reported.
Hirst said that because he had done nothing wrong and felt falsely accused, he would not give the police his name or address. He was charged with littering and obstructing a police officer, and handcuffed and taken before the local magistrate court the following morning.
An unidentified police source told The Mail that Hirst did, in fact, litter, saying he "flung" the apple core across the road, almost hitting someone.
The source went on to say that Hirst refused to give his information to an officer, and that’s when backup was called. According to police, if Hirst had provided his address, he would have been released soon after he was taken into custody.
Hirst told The Mail Thursday he would fight to clear his name, not wanting to be left with a criminal record in a case that could cost taxpayers thousands of dollars.
"The way I was treated you would have thought I had robbed a bank," he told The Daily Mail. "My family are law-abiding people, and I would help if I saw a gang of yobs [thugs] attacking a police officer.”
The obstruction charge against Hirst was later dropped, but he is due to stand trial for the alleged littering offense before a district judge.
If convicted, he could face a $4,800 fine or up to six months in jail, The Mail reported.