COURT: 'Audible crack' as thief broke security guard's wrist during Harrogate M&S alcohol raid

The case was heard at York Crown Court
The case was heard at York Crown Court

A tough-nut thief broke a security guard’s wrist in the most gruesome fashion after stealing alcohol from Marks & Spencer in Harrogate town centre.

Arturas Zlinskas, 35, had been pursued by the security officer after stealing £160 of alcohol from Marks & Spencer.

The guard caught up with him in Oxford Street where Zlinskas dropped the basket and struggled with his pursuer, York Crown Court heard.

Both men went to ground and in a bid to escape, Zlinskas bent the guard’s wrist and fingers back until they cracked.

Prosecutor Laura Addy said: “The defendant grabs hold of the security guard’s hand, peels it back with his own hand and breaks the (guard’s) wrist. There is an audible crack.”

Despite the immense pain he was in, the guard managed to keep hold of Zlinskas by wrapping his legs around him. Other security staff then arrived and apprehended the thief.

The victim was taken to Leeds General Infirmary where he was treated for a fracture of his hand’s metacarpal bone. He had to have a cast on his arm and was off work for six weeks.

The incident, on October 27, 2014, was part of an eight-month shoplifting spree in which Zlinskas, of Cheltenham Crescent, Harrogate, stole hundreds of pounds’ worth of food and alcohol from stores in Harrogate.

In November last year, he pleaded guilty to nine shop thefts, as well as assaulting a security officer, causing actual bodily harm.

He appeared at the Crown Court on Thursday when he admitted three new shoplifting charges.

Ms Addy said that following the horrific incident in Oxford Street, Zlinskas was bailed but proceeded to embark on a new wave of shop thefts, starting at Asda on Bower Road on December 4, 2014, when he stole three bottles of alcohol and evaded security staff.

On March 6 last year, he stole four bottles of wine from McColls’ convenience store on Knaresborough Road.

Two months later, he stole two ready meals, a packet of tomatoes, jars of mayonnaise, a bag of caster sugar, chocolate bars, two packs of Chunky chicken, Swiss rolls and a packet of Pilgrims Choice cheddar cheese, in four separate incidents at the One Stop Shop in Crab Lane.

On September 20 last year, he dipped back into Marks & Spencer, where he stole five bottles of whisky worth £130. He went back in five days later and took another five bottles. When a security guard tried to stop him, Zlinskas dragged him outside before running off.

Ms Addy said Zlinskas had six previous convictions for thefts and breaching court orders, all of which occurred over the past 15 months.

Defence barrister Holly Betke put Zlinskas’s prodigious thieving down to recent drug addiction and the loss of his job.

“He turned to theft either to feed his drug habit or simply to eat,” said Ms Betke.

Judge Guy Kearl QC gave Zlinskas an eight-month suspended prison sentence and a drug-rehabilitation order.