South Tyneside shoplifter jailed after chasing supermarket security guard with knife

John Spedding.
John Spedding.

A shoplifter who chased after an Asda security guard with a knife after he was caught stealing a bottle of Sambuca has been put behind bars.

John Spedding left the store, in Hebburn, without paying for the liqueur and was chased by a guard, who caught up with him on Aln Street.

The Asda store in Hebburn.

The Asda store in Hebburn.

Newcastle Crown Court heard after the worker asked for the bottle back, Spedding pulled out a stanley knife, and chased him.

The terrified guard told police his "life flashed before my eyes" and was convicted he would have been stabbed if he had been caught.

Prosecutor Paul Rowland told the court: "He ran along Aln Street trying to get away from the defendant.

"He did turn around at one point and saw the defendant still chasing him, with the knife in his hand, only about a meter behind him."

The court heard Spedding abandoned the chase when he saw someone he knew and the guard was able to get back to his store and alert he police.

By then a worried witness had also called for the emergency services.

Spedding, 22, was picked up by officers in a nearby park, where he tried to dump the alcohol and knife.

He lashed out while being restrained and bit a police officer's leg when he was taken to a cell at the police station.

Spedding, of Bishop Crescent, Jarrow, admitted threatening another with a bladed article, theft and assaulting a police officer.

Judge Amanda Rippon sentenced him to 18 months behind bars.

The judge told him: "You were drunk at the time you committed this offence and you not only produced a knife but you chased your victim, who was doing no more than his duty as a security guard, down a public street, in full view of members of the public.

"In a victim statement he said this left him shaken up, his life flashed before his eyes and he genuinely believed, not surprisingly, if you caught him, and you got within a meter of him, that you would have stabbed him."

Vic Laffey, defending, said Spedding has a supportive family and a girlfriend who is about to have his baby.

Mr Laffey added: "He does not recall an awful lot about the incident because of the alcohol situation.

"He has expressed a desire to apologise to those he has caused distress to as a result of the incident."