Staff member ‘restrained shoplifter’ until police arrived

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A female staff member from a Larne supermarket bravely struggled with a shoplifter for 15 minutes to keep him restrained until police arrived, Ballymena Magistrates Court heard on Thursday.

Floyd Freeman (23), of no fixed abode, appeared at the court via video link from Maghaberry Prison where he was on remand on charges related to the incident at Tesco.

He had first appeared at the same court on Saturday charged with stealing vodka worth £10 from Tesco in Larne and assaulting a staff member following an incident on June 4 this year.

Thursday’s court was told he was pleading guilty to the offences.

A prosecutor said that whilst restraining Freeman, the defendant threatened to hit the staff member with the bottle during a 15 minute struggle before police arrived.

When arrested, Freeman told police he had gone to buy cider and then told staff he was going to steal vodka before he left the store with the alcohol.

Defence barrister Stephen Law said his client was alcohol-dependent and had no recollection of the incident but wished to apologise.

Imposing a three months jail term, suspended for 16 months, District Judge Peter King said he had an obligation to protect workers going about their business.