April 1 2015 Latest news:
Friday, August 29, 2014
A prolific shoplifter has been jailed after his latest theft descended into violence when he used a hammer to threaten shoppers at a city supermarket and to hit a store detective and off-duty police officer.
The drama happened at the Tesco store at Harford Bridges, on the Norwich outskirts, after Justin Hunt and a female accomplice were spotted on CCTV cameras filling up a trolley with almost £300 worth of food and drink, before leaving the store without paying.
Store detectives moved in to detain the pair outside the shop, but a struggle broke out. An off-duty police officer also became involved in the scuffle and Hunt, 37, took out a hammer.
One of the store detectives and the officer was struck with the item, while onlooking shoppers were also threatened, before Hunt could be detained.
As he was taken from the dock at Norwich Crown Court yesterday, having been sentenced for 12 months, Hunt - who has 38 convictions from 66 offences - shouted out “You haven’t seen the last of me”. His shouting could still be heard in the courtroom as he was led to the cells.
The court had earlier heard that the officer still suffered from headaches, as a result of the incident, on July 1.
Hunt, 37, from Westwick Street, Norwich, appeared for sentencing yesterday, after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing to affray and theft.
Guy Ayers, prosecuting, described how, after leaving the store without paying, Hunt and his accomplice started walking towards the car they had arrived in, which was driven by another man.
My Ayers went on: “Staff attempted to detain them, but this defendant did not want to be detained. Various people were involved outside the store and the defendant was telling them to go away and leave him alone.
“It developed into a physical struggle, and an off-duty policeman sought to help store staff.
“As he got towards the car they had come in, the defendant asked the person he was with to get a hammer or rubberised mallet from the car.
“He then proceeded to swing the hammer towards the policeman, who had identified himself as an officer, to try and hit him and make a getaway. The struggle went on for some time and involved other people and store staff. The off-duty policeman and a member of Tesco staff were injured. Ultimately, the defendant was arrested, taken to a police station where he declined to be interviewed.”
Mr Ayers called Hunt an “habitual shoplifter” and said several of his offences had occurred this year.
Ian Fisher, for Hunt, said his health was not good and he had leg ulcers and deep vein thrombosis. When he appeared at court yesterday, Hunt was supported on a walking stick.
Mr Fisher said Hunt was using the hammer to ward people away from the car, and did not intend to injure anybody. As he was led away from the dock, Hunt shouted that it was an “unfair sentence” which he would appeal against.
After the sentencing, Hunt shouted at Recorder Frank Burton that the 12-month sentence was “unfair”, and that he would “take it to the high court”. He also suggested to the recorder that he should have just received a three-month jail term.