A Penryn man punched a taxi driver in the face and tried to bite a policeman before kicking him in the leg after a drunken night out.

The taxi driver had just arrived home after his shift on March 20 when Benjamin Barry Dixon, 40, of Charter Close, got into the vehicle saying he wanted to go home.

Prosecutor Anita Bennett at Truro Magistrates’ Court detailed how Dixon became “difficult” when the driver refused to take him home.

He reached forward towards the front seat before the driver moved his hand away and got out of the vehicle. 

Dixon then smashed the taxi meter, which was worth £406, before exiting the car and punching the driver in the face.

Police were called and PC Matthew Kingshott attended the scene. Dixon attempted to bite the officer but did not succeed, and he then kicked PC Kingshott in the thigh. 

Defending Dixon, Paul Simons argued that the Penryn man had been facing difficulties in his personal life at the time of the incident, and that he was “effectively homeless”. 

Mr Simons said that Dixon had been having “child contact issues” with an ex-partner who had been “being difficult”. 

He said: “Through me he would like to apologise for what he did to the police officer and the taxi driver. In the sober light of day he regrets what he’s done.”

Kayley Gibson, from the probation service, said that Dixon had been having issues with the Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (CAFCASS), who told him that he had to provide proof he was not drinking or smoking cannabis by doing a test that would have cost £700.

Ms Gibson said: “This was the trigger for this event.”

Mr Simons said: “He had an adverse report from CAFCASS leading him to hit the booze, but since that time he has managed to regain contact with his children.”

According to Ms Gibson, Dixon had also managed to find stable accommodation in the time since the incident. 

Dixon pleaded guilty to two assault charges, one criminal damage charge and one relating to a separate incident in which he caused intentional distress to a man by banging on his door.  Magistrates handed Dixon a community order for each of the charges, to run concurrently. 

The order will last 12 months, include 11 rehabilitation activity requirement days, and Dixon will be subject to an electronic curfew between the hours of 7pm and 7am for the next 18 weeks.  He was also ordered to pay a total of £626: £406 in compensation for the damage to the taxi, £50 compensation to PC Kingshott, a victim surcharge of £85 and court costs of £85.

Dixon apologised to magistrates while leaving the courtroom.