A DRUNKARD who told 999 operators he would murder police officers has avoided a spell in jail.

Ashwani Kumar, who in January was labelled a disgrace for lobbing poppy wreaths around Swindon’s Cenotaph, earlier this month admitted assaulting a paramedic and a police custody officer and making inappropriate 999 calls.

But magistrates last week opted to give the 55-year-old another chance. Rather than jail Kumar, they ordered the homeless man to complete a 12-month community order with a six-month alcohol rehabilitation programme.

“When are they going to understand a more robust approach to sentencing will prevent these types of attacks?”

Angus Macpherson, Wiltshire and Swindon police and crime commissioner, added: “To assault emergency services professionals whilst they’re trying to help you is despicable.

“Facing this type of treatment simply because you wear a uniform is disgraceful and there should be no excuse or tolerance of it.

“That said, the courts must sentence in accordance with national guidelines and take into account of the overall purpose of sentencing. I hope that the defendant in this case takes the opportunity he has now been given and makes the most of the support offered.

He said: “There can’t be any second chances when it comes to the safety of our blue light services.”

Earlier this month, Swindon magistrates heard Kumar had peppered 999 call handlers with abuse in the early hours.

He told them he had killed someone and needed a police officer to arrest him.

Later in the day, he again abused 999 operators. Kumar said he would go to the police station, warning: “A police officer is going to die.”

Police were later called by paramedics. They had been gone to assist Kumar who had collapsed in Torun Way, north Swindon.

It frightened the crew so much they locked themselves in the vehicle.

When he was arrested by police and taken to Gablecross, Kumar punched a custody officer in the arm.

Kumar, an alcoholic for 30 years, was said to have been so drunk he could not remember assaulting the emergency service workers. He was sorry for what he had done.

The paramedic and officer were each awarded £50 compensation.