Thief threatened staff with screwdriver at Leeds store

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A PROLIFIC shoplifter was tackled to the ground and disarmed by a shop worker after he threatened her with a screwdriver.

Simon Ripley was jailed for 12 months after a court heard he made threats to staff at a Jack Fultons store during his latest offending spree.

Ripley, who has over 100 convictions for theft, went into the shop in Bramley Shopping Centre on April 8 last year and was challenged by workers after he tried to leave the store with a bag of shopping without paying.

When he was asked to come back inside the store he told them: “I’m going to stab you with a needle.”

The staff backed off and Ripley then pulled a screwdriver from his pocket.

A female member of staff then grabbed hold of the weapon and tackled him to the ground.

The woman later told police: “I genuinely feared that he had a needle on him, especially when he reached to his pocket.”

The court heard Ripley had stolen from a Boots store and the PDSA animal charity shop earlier in the day. He was banned from entering Bramley Shopping Centre at the time of the offence.

Ripley, 43, of Nowell Lane, Harehills, pleaded guilty to three offences of theft and one of possession of an offensive weapon.

The court heard he had previous convictions for threatening shop staff with a needle and an imitation firearm.

Narinder Rathour, mitigating, said Ripley had taken a cocktail of anti depressants and alcohol before the incident.

He added that Ripley had long-standing issues with drugs. Judge Jacqueline Davis said: “I can impose nothing other than an immediate sentence of custody.”