A SHOPLIFTER who brandished a syringe needle when a Leamington store manager tried to stop him getting away with meat and coffee he had stolen has been jailed.
Matthew Court had pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to threatening the manager of the Sainsbury’s store in Radford Road with ‘an article with a blade or point.’
But part-way through his trial, the 36-year-old changed his plea to guilty on an alternative offence of possessing a sharply pointed article in a public place.
Court, who is from Leamington but of no fixed address, who had earlier pleaded guilty to theft from the store, was jailed for 16 months.
Prosecutor Anthony Cartin told the jury Court went to the store at about 10.30pm on a Saturday night in January to shoplift.
Mr Cartin said the store manager had become suspicious after seeing a number of jars of different brands of decaf coffee in Court’s basket.
Realising his activity had been spotted, Court brazened it out by turning to Mr Sumner, saying if he wanted anything, he would just take it, and was not bothered about the police.
He was asked to leave said he was taking what was in the basket, and began to add packets of meat to it, before he walked out with it.
Mr Cartin said as Court was getting on his bike to cycle away with the stolen goods, Mr Sumner tried to stop him by grabbing hold of the bike.
Court then became increasingly aggressive and at one point produced a wrapped syringe with a needle from his pocket.
It was alleged he unwrapped it and pointed it at Mr Sumner, threatening him with it before getting on his bike and cycling away.
The police found Court on his bike just over a quarter of a mile away, and although he did not have any of the stolen items on him, he accepted he had been in the store.
When searched, in his pocket the officers found the opened packet with the syringe still in it, but no needle.
He admitted he had gone into the shop to steal, but claimed he had been punched in the face by a member of staff who had threatened him.
Court, who had previous convictions for theft, denied taking anything from the packet or having a needle on him, before eventually pleading guilty to having the needle.