A persistent shoplifter who threatened to stab a supermarket security officer with a “dirty needle” has been jailed for a year.
Michael Farrer, 27, was banned from going into the Tesco store on Market Street, Halifax, under the bail conditions imposed following the theft of bacon from another shop a few days before.
But earlier this month Farrer was spotted in the supermarket by a member of staff and escorted to a back office by a male security officer.
Prosecutor Giles Grant told Bradford Crown Court that the security officer had dealt with Farrer on previous occasions without any trouble, but as he telephoned the police the defendant pulled the syringe from his pocket, took the safety cap off and pointed it at him.
Farrer told the officer:”If you don’t let me go I’m going to stab you with a dirty needle.”
Mr Grant said the defendant was an arm’s length away from the officer who feared that he would use the syringe as a weapon.
Farrer was escorted from the store following his threat, but he was jailed for nine months after he admitted possessing an article with a blade or point in a public place.
The defendant, who has served prison sentences in the past for shoplifting and offences of violence, also admitted the theft of the £30 bacon from another store in March and was sentenced to a consecutive term of three months in prison.
His barrister Andrew Stranex told the court that Farrer was motivated by panic and fear when he realised that he was going to be arrested again.
Mr Stranex said his client was clean and had snapped off the tip of the syringe after using it so he could not have caused any serious harm to the officer.
“But he accepts that the seriousness is what the complainant would have thought and felt at the time,” conceded Mr Stranex.
Mr Stranex said Farrer, of Gordon Street, Boothtown, Halifax, had a deep-rooted problem with drug abuse and he had expressed genuine remorse for the incident.
Jailing Farrer, Judge Peter Benson said he had a truly dreadful record for shoplifting and violence and he noted that the theft of the bacon must have taken place soon after Farrer had been released from a previous eight-week jail term for shoplifting.
The judge said the threat had been made with a fearsome weapon bearing in mind the consequences which might have occurred if the officer had been stabbed with a dirty needle.
The judge added that people such as the officer deserved protection and it was a serious offence which had to result in a prison sentence.