SUPERMARKET staff were left shaken and in tears after a man threw bottles of vodka around the store during an alcohol-fuelled rampage, a court heard.

Adrian Pearson attacked a taxi driver before entering Tesco in Chester-le-Street where he smashed bottles, abused staff and hit a police officer who responded to the incident last month.

Magistrates, sitting at Newton Aycliffe on Tuesday, heard that a taxi was called to the Sunflower takeaway, in Pelton, on October 21 to collect Mr Pearson, who appeared intoxicated as he was unsteady on his feet, smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and glazed eyes.

The driver set off for Durham but, partway through the journey, the 48-year-old changed his mind and asked to go to Chester-le-Street.

When the driver asked where he lived, Pearson became abusive saying ‘what the f*** has it got to do with you?’ and threatened to ‘bray’ him.

He asked to get out at Tesco and when leaving the minibus grabbed the driver’s arm and attempted the headbutt him. The driver pressed a panic button inside the vehicle to contact police and reversed out of the way, watching as the defendant walked into the supermarket and towards the alcohol aisle.

CCTV footage from the store, which was played in court, showed Pearson become aggressive with a staff member and smashing a bottle of vodka on a shelf, knocking others to the floor. He went on to throw at least ten bottles at staff and from a promotional display.

Orianna Frame, prosecuting, said: “He moved towards the tills and a promotional display, picking up bottles and throwing them over the store. A lot of customers were in at the time and other staff tried to clear up and move out of the way so other people didn’t get hurt.”

In victim impact statements, the court heard three bottles were thrown at, and only narrowly missed, the store manager who was ‘extremely fearful for staff and members of the public in the self-service area’. Another staff member said she ended up in tears and took 15 minutes to calm down and several customers left the store.

Police were called and Pearson used a bottle to hit an officer on the hip. In a victim impact statement, the injured PC said: “He made those bottles into weapons and could have seriously harmed anybody.”

Pearson pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, common assault, attempted criminal damage of the taxi, common assault of an emergency worker and criminal damage by destroying bottles of vodka worth £320.

The court heard that Pearson had expressed severe regret and remorse for his actions, which followed a binge drinking session during which he consumed a litre of vodka or gin and Special Brew lager.

Probation officer Stuart Douglas said Pearson, of Richmond Court, Sacriston, lives in supported accommodation and is on permanent sick, with very poor mental health, arthritis and nerve damage following a severe bike crash.

For about five years he has voluntarily worked for the charity Handcrafted supporting disadvantaged people and has support from a Christian organisation.

Pearson was sentenced 20 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, with 25 rehabilitation requirement days and a six month alcohol treatment programme. He was also ordered to pay compensation of £75 to both the police officer and taxi driver and £320 to Tesco.