Violent shoplifter attacked staff at Tesco, Co-op and WHSmith stores in Leeds city centre

A violent shoplifter who terrorised staff and security guards in a campaign of offending at Leeds city centre stores has been locked up.

By Tony Gardner
Wednesday, 13th April 2022, 4:45 am

Alan Pye was already banned from business premises in the city centre when he carried out a spate of attacks on shop workers over a three-month period.

Leeds Crown Court heard details of SIX separate incidents between November 2021 and February this year.

They included:

Violent shoplifter Alan Pye was jailed for 20 months at Leeds Crown Court.

- A Tesco store worker being spat at and having a bottle of Fanta thrown at his head.

- A Co-op worker being insulted and having cans of tuna thrown at her.

- A WHSmith worker being injured after Pye attacked him with a lottery stand.

- Pye threatening to "shank" the security manager at the Merrion Centre.

- A wine bottle being thrown at a Tesco store worker and a Krispy Kreme counter worth £1,000 being destroyed.

- A WHSmith security guard being concussed after being punched.

Pye, 33, of Woodsley Road, Woodhouse, was jailed for 20 months after pleading guilty to five counts of common assault, four of theft, two of criminal damage and burglary.

Emily Jenkins, prosecuting, told the court that Pye was the subject of a Leeds city centre exclusion order at the time of the offences.

On November 24, a shopper at the Tesco Metro store, on Briggate, reported him when he was seen filling a bag with bars of chocolate.

A staff member tried to take the items from him and pressed a bell for assistance.

Pye threw a bottle of Fanta at the worker, which missed, and then spat in his hair before leaving with items worth £71.

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On January 17, he was approached by staff at Co-op, in the Merrion Centre, after he was seen taking items from shelves.

The workers knew Pye was banned from the store.

The defendant became aggressive and shouted abuse a female staff member then threw cans of tuna at her.

Two days later Pye threatened to "shank" the security manager at the Merrion Centre.

Pye said to him: "Stop following me, On my mum's life, I will lose my head.

"I have got a shank.."

The security officer walked away as he was frightened by Pye's threats.

On January 25 Pye lunged at a staff member who asked him to leave the WHSmith store on Lands Lane.

Pye left but returned moments later with a sweeping brush which he used to knock over shelves.

He then threw the brush at the same victim before throwing a lottery stand, causing injury to the man's wrist.

Pye returned to the WHSmith store on February 11 and punched a staff member several times.

He also grabbed the man by the neck and threw him to the floor.

The final offence took place on February 14 at the Tesco store on Briggate.

Pye picked up a wine bottle and threatened to smash it over a worker's head.

He then threw it, causing a window to crack.

He shook two bottles of fizzy drink then threw them, hitting the victim on the leg.

Pye then caused £1,000 worth of damage to a Krispy Kreme stand before taking £100 worth of cigarettes from behind the counter and leaving without paying.

Pye has 42 previous convictions for 79 offences, dating back to 2000, for offences of criminal damage, theft and burglary.

Phillip Mahoney, mitigating, said: "Mr Pye is philosophical about the situation that he is in today.

"He knows that it is going to be a sentence of custody."

The barrister said Pye committed the offences to fund his addiction to alcohol.

He said: "He can only apologise to the court for his conduct.

"He knows that in Leeds he is so well known that he is barred from most of the shops

"His only hope for the future is that he can move on and have a fresh start."

Sentencing, Judge Mushtaq Khokhar described Pye as a "nuisance" and said he had to pass a sentence to protect shop staff.

He said: "You yourself are realistic that the only sentence in this case that can be passed is one of custody."