A DRUNKEN and racist thug had to be restrained using CS gas after he assaulted a police officer who boarded a bus to arrest him for intimidating witnesses.

James Schick lashed out at officers as passengers evacuated the bus which had been pulled over in Southampton city centre.

Earlier that day, at lunch time, Schick went in to Nick’s Fish and Chip Shop in Shirley High Street, but could not afford a takeaway he ordered.

Tammy Mears, prosecuting, said the 35-year-old then began hurling racially abusive comments at the staff and broke a flower pot.

She said: “He then made threats that he was going to physically hurt them. He said he had a knife and could cut them open and that he would come back later that day with a baseball bat and smash the place up. They were in genuine fear that he had a knife.”

Schick then walked off and boarded a bus, which police pulled over in Commercial Road. But while being taken off the bus he lashed out an officer and CS gas was used to subdue him.

After being arrested and charged he was released on the condition he did not go back to the fish and chip shop in Shirley.

But Schick ignored this condition, returning there the next day.

Miss Mears said: “He was back in the same clothing he wore the day before, shouting and swearing and telling them to drop the charges or ‘I will do you’.”

When he was arrested he could not recall the incident but accepted that he may have been racist.

“He said he quite often picks on things that are quite obvious about people,” Miss Mears said.

In mitigation the court heard how when sober Schick was “a nice, friendly and law-abiding citizen” who now feels sick about what he did to the female police officer, who was left with a badly swollen ear.

Schick of Cobbett Road, Southampton, pleaded guilty to a public order offence, assaulting a police officer and intimidating a witness.

The court heard how Schick had 15 convictions for 27 offences, which included criminal damage, a racially aggravated offence and a previous assault against a police officer. Sentencing him to 15 months, Judge Peter Henry told Schick he had no option but to jail him.

He said: “I would be failing in my duty if I didn’t recognise that. It is sad for someone with alcohol problems, but there is no other realistic alternative but custody.”