Man was celebrating being out of prison before police had to use riot gear

Police custody photograph of Zak Tranter
-Credit: (Image: South Wales Police)

A man who was celebrating being out of prison got drunk and ended up threatening police with a metal bar, forcing officers to don "riot gear" and pick up shields. Zak Tranter was then sprayed with CS gas and was arrested - and has now been sent back to jail.

The 53-year-old appeared unrepresented in the dock of Swansea Crown Court after dispensing with the services of his barrister just minutes before the hearing started. Tranter has 74 previous offences on his record, and a judge described his antecedents as "lamentable".

Ieuan Bennett, prosecuting, said on January 17 this year police responded to reports of a disturbance involving two males at the Lanelay Rise flats in Talbot Green. Officers found Tranter and another man in the stairwell of the block, and told them both to leave. The court heard Tranter refused to budge and took up a "fighting stance" with fists raised while swearing and shouting at the officers. Police approached and tried to persuade him to leave but he kicked out at officers and then produced a short metal bar.

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The prosecutor said the officers retreated down the stairs and called for assistance, and when backup arrived the officers donned "riot gear" and went back into the flats. The officers formed a "cordon" with their shields and used them to force Tranter into a corner where he dropped the bar. The defendant was then sprayed with CS gas and arrested. In his subsequent interview Tranter answered "no comment" to all questions asked.

Zak Tranter, whose address was given as Three Saints Hotel on Llantrisant Business Park, Llantrisant, had previously pleaded guilty to threatening with an offensive weapon in a private place and resisting arrest when he appeared in the dock for sentencing. He has 31 previous convictions for 74 offences, "the vast majority" of which are for dishonesty and drugs matters. In September 2020 he was sentenced to five years and seven months in prison for burglaries.

The defendant, who dispensed with the services of his barrister shortly before the hearing and appeared in the dock unrepresented, told the court that on the day in question he was out celebrating being out of prison for six months and went for a drink. He said he had been "in the wrong place at the wrong time" and said he wanted to say sorry to the officers for the "inconvenience" he had caused and for "being what I was". He added that he had found the metal bar - a bar from a set of weights - when he was vaping and picked it up with the intention of putting it in the rubbish.

Judge Wayne Beard said the defendant had a "lamentable record" and had used the bar in a threatening manner towards police officers while intoxicated and out of prison on licence. With a one quarter discount for his guilty plea to the weapon offence, Tranter was sentenced to nine months in prison, and with a one-third discount for the resisting arrest offence to 15 days in prison to run concurrently. The defendant will serve up to half the nine months in custody before being released on licence to serve the remainder in the community.

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