Drunken youth jailed for knife gesture at Eldon Lane pizza premises

First published in News The Northern Echo: Static HTML image by , Chief Reporter (Durham)

A YOUTH placed two long-bladed knives on the counter at a pizza takeaway demanding food.

But the defiant owner refused and rang 999, before closing the shutters of the shop, in Eldon Lane, near Bishop Auckland.

Liam Fowler picked up the knives and left with two other youths, one of whom shouted racial abuse as he left the Spencer Street takeaway, shortly after 6pm on August 28.

Durham Crown Court heard Fowler, who was “worse the wear for drink”, was arrested within two hours, although the knives were not recovered.

When questioned next day he said he had little recollection of the incident as he had been struck on the head in a confrontation with another youth earlier that day.

The court heard that as a result of the incident, Fowler was re-called to prison to serve an unexpired part of a previous 12-month sentence for robbery.

Fowler, 22, of Edward Street, Eldon Lane, admitted two counts of possessing an offensive weapon and one of affray, relating to the latest incident.

Mark Styles, mitigating, said Fowler suffered a heavy blow to the head in the earlier incident and “clearly wasn’t thinking straight”, when he took the knives to the pizza premises.

Mr Styles said Fowler was embarrassed at his actions and asked to apologise to the takeaway owner.

Jailing him for a further nine months, Judge Paul Sloan said the combination of the drink taken by Fowler and the threatening nature of his actions made for a potentially dangerous and confrontational situation.

Judge Sloan also praised the takeaway owner for his “courageous stand”.

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