A SHOPLIFTING heroin addict escaped with joints of lamb after threatening a Leamington store manager with a full syringe which had a dirty needle.
And Lee Pheasey had the puncture mark from where he had injected himself after leaving with his haul when he was arrested shortly afterwards.
The 29 year-old, formerly of Priory Road, Warwick, was jailed for three years after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to the robbery and possessing an article with a blade or point in public.
Prosecutor Andrew Baker said David Richards, the assistant manager of the Co-op in Clemens Street, was on duty when Pheasey came into the store on Sunday September 27.
Mr Richards kept an eye on Pheasey, who was helping himself to joints of lamb, and who responded by threatening him: “I’ve got a dirty needle here.”
He then took out a syringe and pointed it at Mr Richards who backed away, fearing that Pheasey was about to stab him with the needle and that it might be infected.
Pheasey fled with five joints of lamb and a loaf of bread.
When traced by the police and arrested shortly afterwards, Pheasey had a puncture mark from where he had just injected himself.
He admitted he had been shoplifting at the Co-op, but denied making any threat with the needle.
Mr Baker, who described Pheasey as ‘a professional shoplifter,’ added he had a number of previous convictions.
At the time he was on licence from a 52-month sentence for smuggling heroin and cocaine into HMP Hewell near Redditch, and has been recalled to continue serving that sentence.
Martin Groves, defending, said Pheasey had only been out of prison for two weeks at the time of the incident and was living at a hostel in Leamington.
He had started to hear voices in his head again, and was desperate, having applied unsuccessfully for benefit.
Jailing Pheasey, Recorder Adam Feest told him: “I sympathise with what has been described as your desperate position at the time; but this is so serious it can only be dealt with by a sentence of immediate custody.”