Shoplifter threatened store guard with needle

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court
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A MAN has admitted threatening to stab store staff with a needle after stealing more than £150 of alcohol.

Shaun Cleworth, of Timperley Lane, Leigh, pleaded guilty to four charges of theft, two charges of using threatening, abusive, insulting words and behaviour with intent and also to a charge of possession of an offensive weapon at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that on September 20 Cleworth entered to Morrisons store at Leigh Sports Village.

Staff at the store immediately recognised him after viewing him on CCTV carrying out an earlier theft.

Security guard Russell Thomas had viewed the video footage and saw him return with a carrier bag.

Because of what had happened earlier, Mr Thomas followed Cleworth and asked him what was in the bag.

Prosecuting Katie Beattie said Mr Thomas found three bottles of unpaid-for Cognac, adding up to £156.

He asked Cleworth to hand over the bag but he refused.

Ms Beattie explained that there was a tussle in which Mr Thomas saw the defendant pulling an object, with an orange tip, out of his pocket.

She said: “Cleworth said ‘I’ve got a needle’. And in fear of being stabbed, Mr Thomas let him go.”

The defendant ran away, but was soon stopped by another staff member, Adam Ogden, who had witnessed the incident.

But Cleworth also threatened Ogden, who was left shaken, with the needle, and subsequently he let him go and the defendant made away with the stolen items.

The court heard that the needle’s safety cap had been removed.

Police were contacted and Cleworth was later arrested.

The 30-year-old was also charged with three other thefts.

Defending Bill Pearson said his client had accepted all responsibility at the first opportunity.

Cleworth has been remanded until sentencing at Liverpool Crown Court on October 15.