Shoplifter in needle stab threat to staff

editorial image

A man has been jailed after he threatened to stab supermarket staff with a hypodermic needle.

Gary Davis, of Abbey Street, Leigh, left the three employees, who were trying to prevent him from leaving after he was caught trying to steal two bottles of vodka from the store, terrified.

The 43-year-old was seen by one of them trying to remove the tags from the two bottles, worth £15 each, and putting them in a bag before leaving without attempting to pay.

Tess Kenyon, prosecuting, said: “A member of staff stopped him from leaving and escorted him to the back of the store.

“They asked him for ID but he didn’t have any and for that reason the police were called. It was then that the accused decided he wasn’t going to stick around.

“He said ‘I am not stopping’ and started to walk out of the store. One of the staff members blocked his way but Mr Davis said ‘if you don’t move I will stab you with a needle’.

“All three members of staff present heard Mr Davis say this. One said afterwards ‘to be threatened with a needle is terrifying. I had no idea if he had and contagious diseases. The thought of being stabbed with a dirty, infected needle is quite scary’.

“Another said ‘I don’t wish to attend work and be threatened with a needle’. There was no suggestion that Mr Davis was in possession of a needle.”

The court heard that Davis had admitted one charge of theft from a shop but had denied threatening to stab the supermarket workers with a needle. He was found guilty following a trial which he did not show up to.

He also admitted two bail breaches - one for the trial and one for an original hearing which he also failed to turn up to which he had already received one days detention for.

James McDermott, defending, said: “For the most recent bail act offence the defendant explained that he had recently been prescribed a drug which caused significant side effects.

“He knows this is not a defence and that he could and should have done more to contact the court. He could have called afterwards as soon as he was feeling better.

“In relation to the public order offence, which is the most serious offence, the defendant explained during the police interview that he had mentioned the word needle but only to warn them that he may be in possession of one so they didn’t harm themselves. This was rejected however when he was convicted in his absence.

“On the day in question, CCTV shows he is being very compliant until the point he is taken to the floor by security staff but he doesn’t seek to challenge the conviction.”

The court heard that Davis had a 11 previous convictions, but none were for violent of public order offences and seven of them had occurred before 1999.

Mr McDermott added that Davis had been working with Addaction’s drug and alcohol team and had stable accommodation.

He said: “He has a long standing drug problem but taken as a whole, his 11 convictions, compared to other people with drug addictions who will come before the court, is not as bad as you might expect.”

Davis was jailed for 12 weeks because of the seriousness of the offence and ordered to pay £100 compensation to each of the three victims. He was also given a seven day custodial sentence for the theft and seven days for the bail breach to run concurrently.