A THUG has been jailed after flying into a rage and smashing up computer equipment in the Royal Bolton Hospital’s accident and emergency department in the middle of the coronavirus crisis.

Career criminal Paul Vail set on staff at the hospital on Wednesday, before smashing up computer equipment with a crutch - in a bid to get himself locked up.

Now, he's been jailed for just seven days with District Judge John McGarva telling him: “It is a serious offence because we’re in a national crisis and the NHS is under siege because of the illness that is killing thousands of people before their time.

“What you did was selfish and has directed resources away from where they should be.”

Kavi Choolun, prosecuting, told Manchester Magistrates’ Court how Vail had gone to the A&E Department on Wednesday.

“He became aggressive as a result of an argument and used his crutch to smash a monitor,” said Mr Choolun. “It is worth about £1,000.”

Vail was restrained by security staff until police arrived.

When arrested Vail admitted deliberately damaging the equipment.

“Yes, I swung my crutch purposely. I want you to lock me up, simple as. I smashed the screen to get locked up,” Vail, who has a lengthy criminal record, told them.

The court heard that Vail was using crutches because he had broken his leg and had been treated at the hospital for nine days.

He pleaded guilty to causing criminal damage.

Karibo Lawson, defending, said Vail had gone to A&E because he was concerned about his injury and feared he could lose the limb.

Mr Lawson said: “He says he had just gone out for a smoke when he saw some people that he had had dealings with in the past, talking amongst themselves and speaking with a security guard and was concerned about what was being said.”

And Vail became aggressive when the security guard asked for his name.

Mr Lawson said: “There was an argument and he accepts he swung his crutches at the screen and caused the damage.

“He desperately wants to go to prison.”

The court heard that Vail, formerly of Arnesby Grove, Bolton, is now of no fixed address.

District Judge McGarva was told that the injury to his leg and ankle, which needed a plaster cast, was not healing well and he is due to have surgery in Salford on May 20.

The judge sentenced Vail to a week in prison and told him: “I hope that means you will be released in time for you to have your operation and you’ll get some support in trying to find an address.”

Vail was also ordered to pay £130 in compensation to the hospital.