September 17 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, August 28, 2014
An addict put staff and customers in fear after he went on a half hour “rampage” in a Norwich pharmacy, pulling items off shelves and swinging a metal shelf around, a court heard.
Michael Welch, 46, had taken a legal high, before going to pick up his prescription for drugs from Lloyds Pharmacy, in Oak Street, which is attached to a doctor’s surgery.
Norwich Crown Court heard that he became agitated and angry when told his prescription was not available and started pulling items off shelves and making threats so that staff and customers were forced to hide in cupboards or the toilets until police arrived.
John Farmer, prosecuting, said one female member of staff, who had worked at the pharmacy for 23 years, said that she had never been so frightened.
He said another said it was “the scariest experience” she ever had.
Mr Farmer said staff were used to dealing with addicts in a bad mood but said: “This would appear to be off the Richter scale.”
He said that one of the staff suffered a cut from glass from a broken bottle and he said the incident lasted about 25 to 30 minutes before Welch was arrested.
Welch of Dibden Road, Norwich, admitted affray on May 15, this year.
Rebecca Wastall, for Welch, said that he blamed the legal high he had taken for his behaviour.
“He believes that if he had not been for that substance, he would not have behaved in the way he did.”
However she said he accepted it was his responsibility, but said the legal high was the “trigger” for his aggressive behaviour.
She said he deserved credit for his early guilty plea.
The court heard Welch had previous convictions for violence.
Jailing him for 14 months, Judge Katharine Moore told Welch he had a history of substance abuse, but his behaviour on this occasion had put staff and customers in fear.
She said the pharmacy was attached to a medical practice and said: “It provides an important public service for residents in that part of the city.”
She added: “For 25 to 30 minutes you carried out a terrifying rampage and as a result some glass was broken and a member of staff sustained a cut. You bear some responsibility indirectly.”
She said the matter was so serious it could only be marked by custody.
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