A drunken teenager was condemned by a district judge today for apparently urinating on a war memorial.
Brian Measor was seen by police standing over the cenotaph in Hartlepool town centre unfastening his belt and trousers.
Hartlepool Magistrates' Court heard that no one actually saw the 19-year-old urinate on the memorial in Victoria Road.
However, witnesses did see the defendant's friends try to pull up his trousers to stop him falling over after police had handcuffed him.
Measor had spent the evening of November 28 drinking in the town centre and later told police he had drunk five pints of lager, the court heard.
It was at 12.20am as a drunken Measor attempted to find a taxi to take him home that he claimed he felt unwell and unbuttoned his trousers to make himself feel better.
Prosecutor Lilian Atkinson told the court: "It was then he stood by the war memorial and members of the public could see that the defendant had urinated or was about to urinate.
"The police came and he attempted to walk away. He was handcuffed and one of his friends tried to pull up his trousers."
After Measor was arrested officers asked him whether he had urinated on the war memorial.
"He accepted he was drunk and disorderly but refuted that he was going to urinate on the war memorial," the prosecutor said.
Measor, of Wordsworth Avenue, Hartlepool, admitted a charge of being drunk and disorderly.
The defendant, who was not represented in court, told District Judge Martin Walker: "I should not have been there. I should not have approached the war memorial."
Passing sentence, District Judge Martin Walker said: "It is a matter bound to cause feeling within the public regarding what happened because of where his behaviour was and where he urinated."
The district judge drew attention to the recent case of Sheffield student Philip Laing, who was charged with outraging public decency after being caught by a freelance photographer urinating on a war memorial during an organised drinking event.
He said Measor was charged with a less serious offence.
"It is bound to cause people to feel upset because memorials are for the dead, who have lost their lives in wars on behalf of the country," the district judge said.
But he added: "In this case I do not feel it necessary to impose a financial penalty."
Measor was given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 prosecution costs.
As he left court with his father, Measor refused to speak to reporters and would only say that he still maintained he had not urinated on the war memorial.