Teen spared jail despite threatening supermarket staff with a knife

North Somerset Courthouse.

North Somerset Courthouse. - Credit: Archant

A Weston teenager was spared jail despite committing a string of thefts at stores, including one in which she threatened supermarket staff with a knife after stealing a bottle of vodka.

A court was told on Monday Maiesha Johnson was seen by staff at the Tesco superstore in Weston on November 23 last year, shaking something down the leg of her trousers.

The employees also noticed she had something up her sleeve.

Johnson was then seen walking past the check outs and made no attempt to pay for anything.

The two employees then confronted Johnson outside of the store.

Prosecuting, Rebecca Pierce said "she responded by saying '**** off I have a knife, I have a knife' while brandishing a knife."

The two employees retreated into the store and the doors were locked, Johnson then gave chase and began to bang on the doors and continued to shout obscenities at the staff before eventually leaving.

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It was later found a £20 bottle of vodka was missing from the store.

On March 3, Johnson was apprehended by security at Sainsbury's in Queensway after attempting to steal a small bottle of alcohol. Staff also found items stolen from the nearby TK Maxx store.

Anjan Arif, defending, said the 18-year-old was immature, naive and had a troubled and tough upbringing, but said he could not deny the seriousness of the offences.

He said: "She bitterly regrets her actions.

"She was anxious and had fallen out with a friend and had gone to Tesco with the intention of stealing alcohol to drink away her woes.

"She never intended to use the knife other than to scare away anyone who might stop her."

Mr Arif said in the time since Johnson had made steps to turn her life around, and planned to become a qualified mechanic.

Johnson, of Buttermere Road, pleaded guilty to three counts of theft and one count of affray, at a hearing at North Somerset Courthouse on Monday afternoon.

Sentencing, chair of the bench, Ian Andrews said: "You are a very lucky person. Had you been charged with possession of a bladed article you would have been going to prison for more than a year today."

Johnson was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for a year.

She was ordered to pay £20 compensation and £207 in costs.