A teenager admitted kicking a police dog in the face after youths surrounded and spat at an officer.

The 17-year-old boy, who cannot be identified due to his age, was tracked down by German Shepherd Tex after an incident in Chandlers Way, St Helens, on March 24.

Liverpool Youth Court heard the boy, from the St Helens area, kicked the dog before going on to assault his handler, PC Paul Hughes, by kicking him in the leg.

April Roberts, prosecuting, told the court the incident occurred after PC Hughes was called to the scene by another officer.

She said: 鈥淎t 11.55pm an officer was on patrol in the St Helens area requiring assistance. Other officers made their way to the location after he stated through the radio that youths had gathered round him, and he was on his own at the time.

鈥淗e said one male had spat at him and he was being abused as he tried to place another youth under arrest.?/p>

Ms Roberts said dog handler PC Hughes arrived at the scene and was told about the spitting incident, and that the youths had made off on foot.

The court heard Tex led the officer behind a set of commercial bins in a car park on Chandlers Way, where the defendant had tried to hide.

Ms Roberts said: 鈥淎t this point (the defendant) was instructed not to move and remain behind the commercial bins. The officer observed him kick the dog to the face, and then the officer was kicked to the leg.?/p>

Neither the dog nor PC Hughes were injured in the incident.

The court heard the teenager, who answered no comment to all questions in interview, had previous convictions for aggravated vehicle taking, criminal damage and being drunk and disorderly.

He today pleaded guilty to assaulting a PC in the course of his duty and causing unnecessary suffering to a protected animal, in relation to Tex.

Paul Kilty, defending, asked city magistrates to adjourn sentencing until tomorrow so officers from St Helens Youth Offending Service could attend.

The teenager will be sentenced in the morning.