Shoplifter jailed after threatening Harrogate supermarket manager with meat cleaver

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A shoplifter who threatened a Harrogate supermarket manager with a meat cleaver after being stopped for thieving has been jailed for 11 months.

Colin Bradley, 33, had been carrying the lethal weapon during a shoplifting spree at Asda in Harrogate where he stole two bottles of Jack Daniels whisky, York Crown Court heard.

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The fresh-produce manager stopped Bradley as he was about to walk out of the store with the whisky bottles and Bradley was at first co-operative, said prosecutor Martin Bosomworth.

Colin Bradley, 33, has been jailed for 11 months after threatening a supermarket manager with a meat cleaver.Colin Bradley, 33, has been jailed for 11 months after threatening a supermarket manager with a meat cleaver.
Colin Bradley, 33, has been jailed for 11 months after threatening a supermarket manager with a meat cleaver.

But when the male employee noticed more items in his jacket and pockets and asked him if he had stolen anything else, Bradley turned aggressive and a “stand-off” ensued.

“(Bradley) put his hand in his pockets (where the blade was) and said, ‘Do you want it then?’” added Mr Bosomworth.

“The (named manager) formed the impression that the defendant had some kind of knife.”

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Fearing for his safety, the manager got out of Bradley’s way and let him leave the store. A short time later, police stopped Bradley and asked him if he was carrying a weapon, whereupon he pulled out a meat cleaver and handed it over.

Bradley, who was drunk and possibly high on drugs, was arrested and hauled in for questioning but refused to answer police questions about the incident at about 11pm on March 3.

He was released on bail pending further enquiries during which local shops and supermarkets provided CCTV evidence showing the convicted thief had targeted other stores since the beginning of February.

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On February 10, he stole four packs of Stellar Artois, food items and ready meals from the Co-op store on Knaresborough Road. He returned to the same shop later in the day and helped himself to a multi-pack of tuna and a pack of Fosters lager.

On May 5, after being released on bail, he stole four cases of Jack Daniels and two packs of lager from the Co-op store in King Edward Drive.

Just over two weeks later, he taPubs and restaurants causing ‘very few’ Covid-19 outbreaks in North Yorkshirergeted Sainsbury’s supermarket in Knaresborough where he stole cases of San Miguel beer. He returned to the store in June when he stole chicken breasts and pasta sauce.

He appeared for sentence on Tuesday after pleading guilty to possessing a bladed article in public and seven counts of theft.

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The court heard he had 10 previous convictions for offences including possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence in 2014. He also had a previous conviction for carrying a knuckle duster.

His rap sheet included serious violence, criminal damage, drug offences and public disorder.

Defence barrister Ashleigh Metcalfe said that Bradley, of Hargrove Road, Harrogate, had been binge-drinking and homeless during his four-month-long thieving spree.

Since the meat-cleaver incident, he had been trying to curb his drinking and drug-taking which had been exacerbated by family bereavements.

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But judge Simon Hickey said that carrying a meat cleaver in public was such a serious offence that it had to be immediate custody, adding that Bradley’s previous conviction for possessing a blade or offensive weapon meant he was liable to a minimum jail term as a “second-striker”.

Jailing Bradley for 11 months, Mr Hickey added: “Anybody who carries a meat cleaver (must expect) an immediate custodial sentence, even though one was never taken out (of the defendant’s pocket).”

Bradley will serve half of the sentence behind bars before being released on prison licence.