Thug snared by trolley pound

Crime story
Crime story

A WIGAN thief was caught after cheekily going back to the supermarket he stole from for his £1 trolley money - then punched someone.

Michael Ashton-Owens, of no fixed address, was sentenced to 20 weeks’ prison after admitting common assault and theft at Wigan Magistrates’ Court.

Elizabeth Hayton, prosecuting, said that on June 21, the 35-year-old entered Wigan’s Asda store filled his trolley with £339.41 of goods and walked out of the store.

The alarm sounded and a security guard called out to him but he ran off, leaving the trolley of goods.

Several minutes later, another female member of staff had radioed to say Ashton-Owens had re-entered the store. She approached him and he asked her for the £1 back that he had put into the trolley. She told him that she would get it back and he started to follow her.

Mrs Hayton said colleague Matthew Palmer, who was standing nearby, noticed that Ashton-Owens was staring at him and he felt nervous.

“The defendant then shouted to him ‘do you want a fight’ and he punched Mr Palmer, making contact on his left shoulder, The victim took a few steps back and he accidentally knocked into a customer.

“Ashton-Owens charged at Mr Palmer and threw a barrage of punches at his head - some of which made contact. The defendant grabbed the victim’s shoulder and struck him on the right cheek. After a few more punches the victim tried to get away and Ashton-Owens fell into a bike display.”

After a member of public intervened, he was held by staff until the police arrived. He was interviewed but remained uncooperative.

Mrs Hayton added that the offence occurred while he was under a conditional discharge for a similar matter.

Andrew Stock, defending, said that in May, Ashton-Owens had been released from prison and was struggling to cope with his drug habit so he attempted to steal the items to sell,

Mr Stock said: “He needs some assistance. He has been in custody before but has committed crimes since. He was uncooperative with the police as he felt he was dealt with forcefully and suffered bruised wrists and ribs.”

Ashton-Owens was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison for assault and eight weeks for shoplifting, which will run concurrently.

He was also given four weeks for breaching his conditional discharge which runs consecutively.