Abusive addict is jailed

A SERIAL thief who launched a tirade of racist abuse on two Wigan shopkeepers who barred him for stealing alcohol has been jailed for 130 days.

Wigan Magistrates’ Court heard how Shaun Atkins has a problem with drink and drugs and turned to petty theft to fuel his addiction.

On May 8 Atkins, 26, went into The Outdoor Shop, Scholes, and started acting suspiciously. He then picked up three bottles of wine before turning to the owner’s wife, Shabana Hayat, who was working at the time and said ‘see you later’ and ran off.

Mrs Hayat then told her husband Seknudar Hayat who reviewed the shop’s CCTV footage.

Atkins, of Cemetery Road, Ince, returned to the same shop on May 18 when Mr Hayat and a colleague Tariq Chaudhry were working.

Mr Hayat recognised him and told him he was barred from the shop at which point Atkins began shouting offensive racist abuse at the men.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of shoplifting and one of racially aggravated harassment.

Prosecuting, Jayne Kearsley, said: “He went on to shout at the men ‘I’ll burn your shop down’ he then left the shop but continued to shout abuse outside.

“He said ‘I’ll teach you a lesson, I know where you live. You’ve come to the wrong area.’

“Both men say that the abuse left them very scared and worried because they both have wives and children.” The next day Atkins, who was already serving a community order for similar offences, returned again when a different member of staff was working and picked up two bottles of spirits before running out of the shop.

It was only when 10 days later Atkins went into a Poundstretchers shop and stole bedding that he was arrested. The court heard that Atkins was given a community order on March 21 for two prior shoplifting offences, but he has breached the order three times.

Defending, Mark Ferguson, said: “Mr Atkins understands that he doesn’t deserve any more chances and accepts that if does and he is given a community order, he probably wouldn’t take advantage of it.”