Thief injured three Jarrow shop workers when he was caught stealing sweets

Elstob appeared at Newcastle Crown Court
Elstob appeared at Newcastle Crown Court

A thief who stole sweets worth £1.49 lashed out and injured three supermarket workers after he was caught.

Newcastle Crown Court heard Ben Elstob had paid for other items during a visit to the Tesco store in Jarrow but hid the confectionery in his clothing when he went to the tills.

When challenged by security staff the 27-year-old became aggressive, made threats and lashed out, leaving three of them with minor injuries.

Elstob was already on a suspended prison sentence for violence at the time of the offence on August 30.

Prosecutor Michael Bunch said: "The defendant was seen by a security guard to take confectionery, put it in his clothing and make his way to the tills to make payments for other items, but not the confectionery.

"He was told to either pay or hand it over but became hostile and pushed the security officer and tried to leave the store. The security officer blocked his path and he became physically aggressive and confrontational.

"Other members of staff were drawn in and he made a variety of threats, including to get a weapon, a baseball bat, and sort each of them out individually.

"Other members of staff helped restrain him and he began to lash out and a number of them received minor injuries as a result of his actions, before police arrived.

"Each of them said the incident was the most violent they had witnessed or been involved in during their employment. One had done the role for 16 years."

When interviewed, Elstob claimed he reacted because the security officer had been overly physical in restraining him.

He pleaded guilty to theft, a public order offence and being in breach of a suspended sentence imposed in December 2016 for assault.

Elstob, of Iona Road, Jarrow, was sentenced to six weeks suspended for 12 months with a three month curfew between 7pm and 7am.

Judge Sarah Mallett told him: "You stole confectionery and when confronted became hostile and tried to leave and your path was quite properly blocked

and you became aggressive.

"You were threatening towards the staff and lashed out and caused injuries to three of them.

"I accept you have a number of issues and you are in the process of addressing them.

"You are still suffering from anxiety and depression and were in a financially difficult situation. That explains the theft but doesn't justify it."

Jennifer Coxon, defending, said Elstob had lost his job five months after being sentenced in 2016 and has had "significant anxiety issues".

She added: "He stupidly stole £1.49 worth of confectionery when he had paid for further items."

Miss Coxon added that he appreciates he needs to deal with anger management issues and has been referred for help by his GP.

She added that he lost his temper when caught stealing because he was so ashamed.