Shoplifter jailed for chasing staff at Hartlepool convenience store by swinging hammer

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Rowbotham punched the manager and left the store, but then pulled a hammer out of his backpack and returned when he threatened staff, including a woman, and chased them into a warehouse .

But they and a member of the public bravely managed to overpower and disarm him until the police arrived.

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The incident happened at Sainsbury’s Local on Murray Street

Rowbotham was sentenced to nine months in jail at Teesside Crown Court for the incident which happened around 4:50 p.m. on November 19 last year.

Paul Cross, prosecuting, described how he punched the manager in the face by knocking him off his glasses after challenging Rowbotham.

Mr Cross said: “One of the sales people took the accused out of the store.

“He pulled out a backpack that he was carrying with a hammer and yelled at the staff to get out. He then entered the store swinging the hammer and chasing the staff.

“The manager was chased into the section of the warehouse where the accused was knocking on the door and causing damage to him.

“The warden managed to grab the accused and drag him to the ground while another staff member grabbed the hammer.”

The police arrived and, as Rowbotham was arrested, he kicked one of the officers in the leg.

He then pleaded guilty to theft, fighting, possession of an offensive weapon and assaulting a rescuer.

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Defending Alex Bousefield said Rowbotham was homeless at the time and struggling with alcohol and mental health issues.

He said everything had escalated since he took the bottle of lager.

Mr Bousefield said: “He regrets the way things have developed and understands that because of the consequences it must be a custodial sentence.

“He acted in a way that caused great distress, anger and no doubt fear to the manager and other staff and a very courageous member of the public who also got involved.

“He understands this must not happen again.”

Mr Bousefield said Rowbotham, of Beaconsfield Street, Hartlepool, was able to be rehabilitated with the right support upon his release.

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