Teenager Thomas Walley punched a shopkeeper in the face – after being challenged about why he was repeatedly stealing from the corner shop.
The 18-year-old had stolen food and booze from Sun Street News, in Hanley, four times in the space of just two-and-a-half hours before he assaulted the shop’s manager.
Magistrates at North Staffordshire Justice Centre heard Walley was ‘heavily intoxicated’ at the time.
Prosecutor Sue Hayers said: “The injured party is the store manager. He knows the defendant as his mum and brother are regular customers. This defendant has visited in the past and the injured party said when Mr Walley is sober he is OK, but when he is drunk he is crazy.
“He first went into the shop at 6.45pm. He was described as heavily intoxicated. He took two bottles of wine.
“He returned a short time later and took a pack of Pringles. On the third occasion he took four bottles of wine. By the fourth occasion the manager had been made aware and came over to the shop from his home address.
“At 9.20pm the defendant returned to the shop. The injured party went inside and stood in front of the door to prevent him leaving. He described the defendant barging past him. The defendant punched him once to the face with a clenched fist. The defendant ran out of the store.
“We are talking about a small business here, and this gentleman was assaulted while going about the course of his lawful employment.”
Walley, of Rookery Court, Trent Vale, pleaded guilty to four charges of theft and one of assault by beating.
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Peter Howland, mitigating, said: “He is embarrassed about this. He has said he is really sorry for behaving in this way. He puts it down to having too much to drink.
“The total amount of the goods taken from the store was only £32.10.”
Magistrates fined Walley £240 and ordered him to pay back the £32.10 plus £50 compensation to the victim. He must also pay £169 in court costs and charges.