Shropshire Star

Jailed: Tesco thief smashed Jack Daniels bottle over guard's head and left teeth marks in his leg

A thief who smashed a Tesco security guard over the head with a bottle of whiskey, punched him on the nose and bit him in three separate incidents months apart has been jailed.

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Tesco Extra in Battlefield Road, Shrewsbury. Picture: Google

Gareth Higgins, aged 41, showed his "different and nasty" side when he tried to steal from Tesco Extra in Battlefield Road, Shrewsbury on multiple occasions last year. Each time he was apprehended he became violent.

Shrewsbury Crown Court heard how on January 5 last year at about 9.40pm, Higgins was seen in the alcohol aisle. He was seen taking around eight or nine bottles of Jack Daniels whiskey and making off through the fire door.

Around an hour and a half later, he returned to the store and picked up another two bottles of whiskey. A manager confronted him and he ran for the fire door again.

A security guard caught up with Higgins, who threatened to bottle him. The guard was hit in the head with the bottle but, although Higgins accepted he brandished the bottle in a threatening manner, it was accepted by the prosecution that Higgins did not deliberately hit the guard with it.

Higgins was detained on the floor by the shop staff before police came and arrested him.

Later in the year, on August 2, Higgins returned to the shop while banned as part of his bail conditions. He was asked to leave by the same security guard he previously hit with the bottle, but instead he punched him on the nose. The court heard that a woman who was with Higgins also hit the guard in the face, but the police did not have the resources to arrest her.

Then, on December 20, Higgins again tried to steal Jack Daniels whiskey from the shop. The same security guard stopped him, prompting Higgins to bite him on the calf and on the thigh, puncturing his skin with teeth marks.

Higgins was also in court to be dealt with for stealing £95 worth of power tools from the B&Q store opposite Tesco in Battlefield Road on December 5.

Higgins, of Hawkestone Road, Harlescott, Shrewsbury, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault by beating, two of theft, one of common assault and a bail act offence.

Rob Edwards, mitigating, accepted Higgins, who has struggled with drink and drug addictions, has a "different and nasty side to him". But, Mr Edwards pointed out that Higgins had managed to steer clear of crime for a 10-year period between 2007 and 2017, and then for around four years after that. He said the death of Higgins' father and a "vociferous" argument with his mother may have played a part in his offending.

Judge Anthony Lowe told Higgins his offences were "too serious and too numerous" for him to avoid a custodial sentence. "You know as well as I do, you simply can't brandish broken bottles in somebody's face, and then commit offence after offence while on bail," the judge said.

He jailed Higgins for 31 months and made him subject of a five-year restraining order, banning him from contacting the security guard.

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