A MAN who headbutted a police officer during a struggle at a doctors' surgery has been spared a prison sentence.

Piotr Mastalerz, 45, was instead told to pay £100 in compensation to the constable he attacked.

The judgement, from Southampton Magistrates' Court, came after the Atherley Road resident was found guilty of assaulting an officer earlier this year.

The incident took place when Mastalerz was attending his doctor's surgery on July 2.

Magistrates heard how the 45-year-old trashed one of the desks, and staff quickly called police for help.

But when two officers arrived, Mastalerz said he wanted to leave.

A struggle broke out and Mastalerz headbutted one of the officers, causing them to bleed, before eventually being arrested.

He was found to have cannabis and a quantity of amphetamines on him at the time.

After being released on bail, Mastalerz was stopped by police six days later, and was again found to have amphetamines on him.

Mastalerz pleaded guilty to all three charges of possessing illegal drugs, but was found guilty of assaulting a police officer, after denying the offence.

Defending, Mastalerz' lawyer said that the 45-year-old suffered from mental health issues, and had a history of drug use.

She said that Mastalerz' had attempted to remove himself from the situation at the doctors' surgery, but police wouldn't let him walk away.

"That's really what led to the attack," she added.

His lawyer asked that any jail term be suspended, but magistrates opted against imposing a prison sentence.

They instead ordered Mastalerz to undertake drug rehabilitation treatment and pay £100 compensation to the injured officer.

He was also ordered to pay £150 in court costs.

John Apter, chief of the Hampshire Police Federation, has hit out at the sentence, describing it as a "slap on the wrist".

He said: "Police officers and anybody working in the public sector deserve to have the full protection and support of the justice system.

"On this occasion that support was not present."