Shoplifter used syringe as a weapon

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A woman avoided capture by store staff while she was repeatedly caught shoplifting because she kept producing a syringe and wielding it as a weapon.

Wigan and Leigh magistrates heard that Samantha Jane Cunliffe would pull out a hypodermic needle from inside her bra when challenged.

And on several occasions she had threatened security guards and shop management with it when they attempted to stop her.

Mrs Nichola Yeadon told the hearing that on one occasion Cunliffe, who was appearing in court from a remand centre by video link, warned circling store detectives: “If you don’t let me go I will pin you - and I have hepatitis C.

“I suggest you move.”

The 25-year-old of Maple Crescent, pleaded guilty to nine counts of shoplifting.

These charges included stealing £112 of flea powder from Pets at Home, £38 of perfume from Next, £20 of Baby Food from Aldi and £70 of meat from Marks and Spencers.

She also pleaded guilty to three counts of making threats with a hypodermic needle, the common assault of a shop manager, plus a duo of public order offences.

Cunliffe has a “relatively light” criminal antecedence, Mrs Yeadon told the court.

But the defendant was shown to have opiates in her system following a blood test at Wigan Police Station when she was finally successfully detained.

Colin Rawson, defending, said that he would be presenting “significant mitigation” on behalf of Cunliffe in due course.

He successfully called for a probation report to be compiled before the case proceeds further.

The presiding justices considered their potential powers of sentencing to be insufficient, and so they declined jurisdiction and committed the case to be dealt with by a judge.

Cunliffe was remanded in custody and will now appear for a sentencing hearing at Bolton Crown Court on Monday December 12.