Leeds shoplifter made threats to stab staff with needle

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A DRUG addict who threatened to stab Leeds supermarket staff with a needle after he was caught shoplifting has been jailed for 22 months.

Leeds Crown Court heard Andrew Purkiss, 46, told terrified staff at one store that he was suffering from a disease as he threatened them with a needle.

Prosecutor Kirsten Mercer said Purkiss, was spotted stashing £300 of meat in a bag at Sainsbury’s in Headingley on March 17. Sainsbury’s worker Rachel Peterson confronted Purkiss outside the store and a second Sainsbury’s worker tried to grab his bag.

Miss Mercer said: “The defendant was holding a needle in his hand. They believed he would use the needle to stab them and ran into the shop and the defendant ran away.”

Purkiss was spotted putting 18 tins of corned beef worth £45 in his jacket at the Co-op store in Armley on April 4. Co-op employee Paul Muscroft and a security guard escorted Purkiss to the front of the store. Miss Mercer said: “The defendant said he had a disease so Mr Muscroft moved away and pushed the security guard away, fearing they would both be stabbed with the needle and infected.”

Purkiss, formerly of Truro Street, Armley, admitted two charges of theft, two counts of threatening behaviour and two charges of possessing a pointed aricle.

He also admitted handling stolen goods following a burglary at a house on Aviary Place, Armley, Leeds, on May 5. Purkiss, who has 30 previous convictions for 106 offences, asked for three offences of theft from shops to be taken into consideration. Mitigating, Deborah Smithies said: “His adult life has been blighted by drug addiction. He is 46-years-old and tells me he has spent 23 years in prison.”

Jailing Purkiss for 22 months, Judge Penelope Belcher told him: “These are nasty incidents.”

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