Scissor-wielding shoplifter jailed

Newcastle Crown Court
Newcastle Crown Court

A scissor-wielding shoplifter who threatened to stab pursuers as she tried to flee with stolen goods has been jailed for nine months

Leanne Craggs, of Ravensworth Street, Millfield, Sunderland, pinched items from Alnwick’s Boots store before being chased through the town centre on Wednesday, December 14, 2016.

The 37-year-old threatened to hurt those who attempted to stop her escape and she cut the hand of John Hope after he had managed to catch and stop her.

The mother-of-four was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court this afternoon, after she had last month pleaded guilty at Bedlington magistrates’ court to three counts of common assault – one each against Mr Hope, Justin Mathews and Dennis Patton – as well as a charge of theft and another of possessing a blade.

Describing the incident, David Crook, prosecuting, said: “She went into Boots and was acting suspiciously. She was being watched and when she left, she set off the alarms. She was followed by a member of staff and there was a chase through Alnwick. She told the staff member to ‘get away or I will stab you’. Mr Hope noticed what was going on and joined in with the chase.

“She ran through the market square and dodged some motor vehicles.

“Mr Hope managed to catch up with her and he took hold of her right wrist and told her to stop. She was shouting ‘leave me or I will stab you’.

“He noticed something pink in her hand, which was the scissors, and she lunged towards him. He knocked her hand away to protect himself and as a result, he sustained an injury to his hand.

“Other members of the public attended and she lashed out and caught Mr Patton on the shoulder and she tried to bite Mr Mathews. She was detained, before the police arrived and took her away.

“This was not a sustained assault, but injury was caused by the use of a weapon.”

Mr Crook told the court that Craggs had a string of previous convictions and was currently subject to a number of suspended prison sentences, including one for possession of a blade.

Craggs was listening to today’s proceedings via a video link in prison, as she had been remanded in custody over the Christmas period following her guilty pleas last month.

Defending her, Christopher Morrison said that Craggs was ashamed of her behaviour and was very sorry.

He added that she had a long-term struggle with drugs and at the time of the incident, ‘she was in the throws of relapse of prescription painkillers’, caused by a break-up with her partner a few months previously, and her actions during the chase were as a result of ‘panic and desperation’.

He added that being in custody for the last month had allowed her to have a detox, stabilise and had been a ‘wake-up call’ and urged Recorder Mr David Dobbin not to give her a custodial sentence.

But the recorder disagreed and sentenced her to 145 days in prison for the Alnwick incident. He said she must also now serve 18 weeks consecutively for breaching her suspended sentences.