Shoplifter threatened security staff with knife

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A SHOPLIFTER threatened security staff with a knife when he was caught trying to steal bottles of spirits.

Matthew Prime, 38, of Uppingham Road, Gunthorpe, near Oakham, took two bottles of vodka and a bottle of whiskey from the shelves of a Co-op store in Seacroft Road, Mablethorpe, before walking out without paying.

Andrew Scott, prosecuting at Lincoln Crown Court on Friday, said Prime was challenged as he left the store but refused a request to return inside.

Mr Scott said: “He appeared to be under the influence of alcohol.

“At that point he pulled out a small kitchen knife with a black handle. The knife was thrust forward as a warning gesture to leave him alone.”

The knife did not come into contact with any of the staff and Prime then ran off.

He was identified from CCTV footage and arrested several days later.

Mr Scott said: “He told the police that he was taking medication for depression and had also been drinking alcohol. He said he could not remember anything of the incident and told officers that he would not hurt a fly.”

Prime admitted charges of theft and possession of a bladed article on October 29, 2010. He was given a four-month jail sentence suspended for a year with 12 months supervision and a requirement to undergo mental health treatment.

Catarina Sjolin, mitigating, said that at the time of the incident Prime was drinking too much and was abusing his prescription medication.

She said: “Since this incident there has been nothing similar. He has cut his drinking right back. He is not now abusing his medication and he has moved back in to live with his mother. He is not the sort of man who is normally before this court.”