Weston man sentenced after spitting at street warden’s face in High Street

Weston High Street. Picture: MARK ATHERTON

Weston High Street. Picture: MARK ATHERTON - Credit: Archant

A Weston man has been spared jail after spitting at a street warden’s face and committing a series of thefts in the town centre.

Karl Hegarty, of Orchard Street, received a suspended sentence at North Somerset Courthouse on Monday.

The 43-year-old's string of offences in the town centre began on April 27 when he stole three bottles of Gucci perfume from The Fragrance Shop in the Sovereign Shopping Centre.

Alex Ward, prosecuting, said: "Two days later the defendant was seen to enter the Sovereign Shopping Centre again. Security were made aware and went to speak to him.

"He was aggressive and when the wardens went to detain him he shoved a security guard to the chest. It was a low level assault.

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"On July 14, the defendant was seen to enter Boots, taking six face serums and making no attempt to pay for them.

"Street warden Nicholas Moss saw the defendant from the High Street.

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"The defendant attempted to run away but was detained.

"Mr Moss took him back to the High Street where he became agitated and seemed to blame Mr Moss.

"The defendant looked him in the face and spat at Mr Moss, with saliva landing on his face."

The street warden said he felt 'violated', adding: "Spitting is vile and it showed disrespect for my position in the community."

Hegarty was also punished for burglary after admitting breaking into a convenience store in Clevedon in 2018 and stealing alcohol worth £677.97, plus causing hundreds of pounds in damage.

Paul Light, defending, urged the magistrates not to send Hegarty to prison, saying his client had changed his ways.

He said: "It has amazed me how he has been able to make progress so quickly.

"He is a different person to the one I first met."

Chair of the bench Jenny Simmonds told Hegarty: "Because of the value of the thefts and the damage that was caused, this passes the custody threshold.

"But, after taking into account the probation report, we will not be sending you to custody.

"Should you fail to comply, that suspended sentence could be activated."

Hegarty was handed a 24-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months after pleading guilty to burglary, three counts of theft and two assault by beating charges.

He was ordered to pay £2,110.52 in costs and compensation for his crimes, and he will also be subject to a curfew for 12 weeks.

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