Shop knifeman’s prison warning

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A man with learning difficulties has been given a final warning after he was arrested for brandishing a knife at a shop worker.

Steven Swallow, aged 30, of Adwick Road, Mexborough, was given a 12-month supervision order and a conditional discharge and told to stop shoplifting or he’d end up in prison by a judge at Sheffield Crown Court.

He admitted three counts of theft and one of possessing a blade in public.

The court heard Swallow was seen in the railway cafe at Doncaster station stealing a bag of sweets, a Coke and a pasty worth £7.36 and putting them into a carrier bag before leaving without paying.

While on police bail, he went into a grocery store in Doncaster and was seen on CCTV taking items and hiding them about his person.

Carl Fitch, prosecuting, said when a worker went to confront him, he pulled out a knife telling him: “If I see you again I’ll kill you.”

He then brandished a blade adding: “You want to watch yourself. I’ve got this, I know what you look like.”

Mr Fitch said the worker was scared for his safety and rang police, who saw the CCTV and recognised Swallow. He was arrested nearby and a bladed ‘multitool’ was recovered from him.

Mr Fitch said while on bail for the offence, Swallow stole two chocolate bars and an energy drink worth £3.40 from a shop. Swallow told police he was hungry and thirsty and had no money.

The court heard Swallow had 16 previous convictions for 24 offences which included 10 counts of theft.

Richard Davies, defending, said Swallow had significant learning difficulties and his previous convictions were for low level shop thefts.