Rude gesture or bad signal?

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A man was arrested following a ‘misunderstanding’ over him waving a mobile phone near a police officer, Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court has heard.

On Friday, Lesla Small, prosecuting, said that on October 30 an officer in Risbygate Street, Bury, saw James Brand make a rude hand gesture towards him.

Brand continued down St Andrew’s Street and into a betting shop, where the officer confronted him. He became agitated and began swearing in front of other customers and was arrested, said Miss Small.

In mitigation, David Shipman said: “This unfortunate incident occurred because of a misunderstanding.”

When it is alleged Brand made the rude gesture, he had in fact been waving his phone in the air to get a signal, said Mr Shipman.

“He’s adamant that this is what was happening so, you can understand why, when confronted by the officer in the betting shop he became upset.

On Friday, Brand, 45, of Lake Avenue, Bury, pleaded guilty to using threatening words or behaviour to cause distress.

He was conditionally discharged for a year and ordered to pay £50 in costs and a £15 victim surcharge.