Wigan shopworker was punched and spat at by shopper

A homeless man has been jailed for punching a Wigan shop supervisor after she tried to remove him from an off licence.

Arthur Mclean, a resident at St George’s hostel near the town centre, has been imprisoned for 12 weeks for assault after hitting a woman working at McColl’s on Wallgate.

The shop outside Wigan Wallgate station where the attack took place

The shop outside Wigan Wallgate station where the attack took place

The 48-year-old, who has a history of alcohol and drug abuse, said he had consumed three bottles of wine in the morning leading up to the incident on Saturday afternoon.

At around midday, Mclean entered the off licence in an attempt to buy more alcohol but was asked to leave by the shop assistant who recognised him from previous incidents.

Prosecuting, Tess Kenyon said: “The complainant supervises the store, he’s not allowed in the shop due to previous incidents.

“He did leave when asked but returned on a couple of occasions. At one point he became quite angry and took his jacket off.

“He was being very aggressive. She thought he was going to assault her so she pushed him backwards.

“He went to punch her in the face but she moved and he hit her in the chest. He spat at her, it landed on her left cheek near her mouth.”

Ms Kenyon told magistrates how Mclean had also breached a conditional discharge which he was given by the court back in June in relation to a theft offence.

Speaking to police, the victim said: “I don’t feel this should’ve happened to me while I was just doing my job.

“I was scared, I was spat on - I could have caught anything.”

A few hours later, police were called to reports of Mclean “hanging around” outside Costa Coffee on Robin Retail Park.

“By the time police arrived he was asleep,” said Ms Kenyon. “There were reports that he might have been in possession of a weapon.

“He swore at the officers and wouldn’t cooperate. They told him to stop swearing as there were families with children around.

“He was eventually arrested.”

When he came round Mclean could not remember being arrested for being abusive to police.

The prosecutor added. “He had been drinking since seven that morning. He had three bottles of wine, vodka and some cider.”

Defending, Mark Ferguson told the bench that his client simply wanted to buy more alcohol from the Wallgate off licence when the altercation occurred.

“He has a long standing history of drink and drug abuse,” he said. “He was going to be a legitimate customer buying alcohol.

“It was clear to him that they didn’t want him there. It seems as though the complainant took the view that he needed to be physically removed.

“She accepts that she made the first move as far as the physical altercation is concerned. She pushed him in the chest to get him out of the store.

“He is a homeless man and a vulnerable victim of bullying in the street.”

Mclean was given a 12-week sentence for the assault because he was already subject to a court supervision order.

He has also been ordered to pay £100 compensation on his release.