A man who claimed it was a breach of his human rights to be asked to leave a shop for not wearing a shirt was arrested after a scuffle with police officers.
Roy Page, 53, walked bare-chested into the Iceland store in Chichester Road, South Shields, to buy ice lollies on a hot day last summer and, magistrates heard, was asked by a member of staff to either put a shirt on or leave to comply with the store’s hygiene policy.
Mary Narey, prosecuting, told the hearing, which was held at Gateshead Magistrates’ Court, that Page, of Dean Terrace, South Shields, went into the store at about 7pm wearing jeans but no shirt.
She said: “When challenged by the staff he immediately became abusive and aggressive, claiming it was against his human rights, and added that nothing would have been said if he was wearing a Muslim hijab.”
The court heard he was asked to leave but assaulted shop assistant Lauren Brudenell as he was being ushered out.
Ms Narey added: “He pushed his body weight against her, causing her to stumble backwards. The police were called and Page then struggled with three officers who tried to arrest him. One deployed a CS gas spray and another pressed his alarm which led to more police arriving.
“When interviewed, he repeated his claim that he was within his human rights to walk into a shop with no shirt on.”
Page admitted common assault and resisting arrest, both on May 21 last year.
As he entered his guilty pleas, Page said: “I’m only pleading guilty because I’ve been told I’ve got to.”
The court heard Page has 36 previous convictions and is in breach of a conditional discharge imposed for theft.
David Forrester, defending, said: “It had been a very hot day. Mr Page decided to call into Iceland to buy ice lollies and ended up spending 14 hours in South Shields police station. He threw no blows or caused any injury.
When magistrates indicated they were considering community work as part of his sentence, he told them: “You can’t give a working man unpaid work. I’ve got to earn a living. I’ve already lost three jobs over this.”
Magistrates adjourned sentence for the preparation of probation report and Page was bailed on the condition that he does not enter Iceland in South Shields.