A man who attacked two police officers when they were called to a domestic incident at his home has been branded by a judge as a bully and a thug.

Mark Hodgson reacted violently when the officers tried to restrain him at his home in Bideford, elbowing a female officer in the face before grabbing her male colleague by the neck.

The 36-year-old was ordered to pay compensation to the two constables after he admitted assaulting them.

PC Melanie Brown and PC Frank Morgan were in the process of trying to restrain Hodgson when he attacked them.

Hodgson, of East Ridge View, Bideford, admitted two counts of assaulting police and was made subject of a community order, fined £250 and ordered to pay £100 compensation to each victim.

Sentencing at Exeter Crown Court, Judge David Evans told him: “These were the actions of a bully. The officers were called out, only to be met by a thug in his worst state.

“You lashed out and thrashed about. You elbowed one officer in the face and got the other in a headlock. Both received cuts and marks.”

Felicity Payne, prosecuting, said the assaults put Hodgson in breach of a suspended sentence passed at Liverpool Crown Court in November 2016 for an attack on his ex wife, in which he ruptured her spleen.

Hodgson moved to Devon and remarried and police were called to his new home on January 6 this year by his new wife.

But the judge said he was not activating the suspended sentence so Hodgson could complete a Building Better Relationships course in the community.

Brian Fitzherbert, defending, said his client has been working well with probation and tackling substance issues.

He is due to take part shortly in a course to improve his attitudes within domestic relationships.

Speaking after the hearing, Superintendent Toby Davies, police commander for North and West Devon, said the assault was ‘wholly unacceptable’.

He said: “The officers in this case were responding to a call for help from the victim. It is wholly unacceptable that they were assaulted by this thug and it is fortunate that in this case the injuries were only minor.

“The emergency services should never have to accept this as just part of the job and I am keen that such behaviour is dealt with robustly, to send out a message to others.”

Last year the Gazette reported there had been an ‘alarming’ rise in assaults on blue-light services across the South West.