Longton shoplifter Tony Chambers who threatened to stab security guard is locked up after crime spree
TWENTY-YEAR-OLD Tony Chambers has been sentenced to 13 months in a young offenders' institution after he went on a crime spree.
The defendant threatened to stab a security guard at Tesco in Longton as he ran off after stealing £70 of groceries.
He then struck again at the same store but was stopped when he left without paying.
Chambers had been on bail for handling stolen goods at the time, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard yesterday.
Prosecutor Fiona Cortese said: "The security guard was alerted and saw the defendant running towards the petrol forecourt.
"The guard followed him. The defendant said, 'Get back or I will stab you'. He then produced a knife but the blade was not open."
Chambers continued to run away but was found by police nearby.
He agreed he was in possession of a knife but told police he only took it out of his pocket when running away.
Chambers selected groceries and alcohol and left without paying when he struck again on June 18. He was followed, detained and asked to return to the store. But he handed the bag, with goods worth £30, to the security officer and walked off.
He was arrested and interviewed the same day. He told police he was desperate for food as he had been refused a crisis loan and had not eaten for six days.
Chambers had been on bail at the time after he handled stolen goods taken from a house in Bute Street, Fenton, while the residents were on holiday last December.
Miss Cortese said the bathroom window was forced open.
Police searched the defendant's home on December 29 after receiving information and items stolen in the burglary were recovered. The court heard the victims have since moved.
Chambers, of Redhill Road, Stone, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods, failing to surrender, breach of a conditional discharge, two charges of theft and having an article with a blade in public. Nicola Bell, mitigating, conceded Chambers's pre-sentence report made for depressing reading.
"He has had a dreadful start in life, exacerbated by his use of amphetamines since the age of 17," said Ms Bell.
She asked Judge Robert Trevor-Jones to consider suspending any sentence so Chambers can address his amphetamine use. But the judge said there had to be a custodial term and sentenced Chambers to 13 months' detention.
"The handling of stolen goods is a serious matter," said the judge.
"I do not sentence you for the burglary because you were not charged (with it). I am quite satisfied that you were certainly close to the burglary.
"While on bail you committed a theft and having a bladed article. That was effectively the threatening of a shop detective with a knife which had not got the blade withdrawn. But it is a serious matter. On June 18, you committed another offence of shop theft. These are very serious offences which pass the custody threshold."