Thief arrested by shoppers, jailed - Shefford


Shoppers in Morrisons in Shefford, Beds arrested a thief who had jumped into a cashier's kiosk in an attempt to steal money from the till.

Karl Walsh, 38, was taken to the ground by Mr Chris Berry. Other shoppers went to help restrain him until the police arrived, Luton Crown Court heard today, Tuesday, 04 June 2013.

In a struggle, Walsh hit out and bit Mr Berry's arm saying: "If you think this is bad -have some of this and hit out."

Prosecutor Colin Banham said that Walsh went on to complain that he was the victim saying: "You are breaking my arm. I am going to do you."

When questioned by the police he said he had no choice but to bite Mr Berry because he could not breath. He claimed he had been racially abused.

Walsh was put in a cell. When the officers went to question him about other till snatches in supermarkets in Harpenden, Flitwick and Apsley near Hemel Hempstead he put a blanket over his head and refused to come out of his cell.

Mr Banham said Walsh had been involved in a "spree of offences in February"  all involving a similar "MO."

On 14 February he had gone into Sainsbury's in High Street, Harpenden at ten to eight at night. He went to the till to pay for Lynx shower gel. When the cashier opened the till he snatched £290 and ran out.

Two days later he used the same method to take £100 cash from a till at Tesco's in Flitwick.

Then on 19 February he went back to Sainsbury's in Harpenden, selected another low value item and went to the till. When the cashier saw he was about to grab money from the till, she slammed the lid down on his hands. He ran out with nothing and got into a red Ford Focus.

On 21 February, Walsh went into Sainsbury's in London Road, Apsley, near Hemel Hempstead and again picked up Lynx shower gel. He handed over £2 and went to take money. The cashier put her hands over the till in an attempt to stop him, but was "back-handed" by Walsh who hit her in the face before he escaped with £380. The next afternoon he went to Morrison's in Shefford.

Walsh of The Highwayman Hotel, London Road, Dunstable appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to robbery, three charges of theft, one of attempted theft and assault by beating. He asked for 7 offences to be taken into consideration. He had 31 previous convictions for 83 offences.

Defence barrister Nick De Freitas said Walsh was desperate for money for drugs. He said Walsh did not accept "back-handing" the cashier at the till in Apsley. He said he had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.

Judge Richard Foster jailed him for 2 years saying: "You are one of those names we see again and again in the court's lists. You have a shocking history of criminal conduct.  I have no doubt the root cause is your drug habit."

He told Walsh to take help from probation officers when he is released from prison on licence. He said: "You will have a miserable life until you sort yourself out."

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