A SERIAL shop lifter and drug addict has been jailed for threatening to stab security guard in the face with a hypodermic needle.

Victoria McLaren was spotted putting £68 worth of cosmetics in her handbag in M&S in Middlesbrough before leaving without paying for the goods on November 14 last year.

CCTV footage showed McLaren pull the needle out of her jacket and hold it at her side shouting ‘I will stick it in your face – now f*** off’.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said the security guard followed the 37-year-old out of the Middlesbrough town centre store before she ran off through the Dundas Shopping and onto Exchange Square where he caught up with her.

She added: "She pulled out a hypodermic needle from her jacket and said 'I will use it, I stick it in your face – now f*** off."

Teesside Crown Court heard that the defendant had 56 convictions for 116 offences, predominantly shoplifting, and was given a five year anti-social behaviour order (ASBO) in 2015 barring her from a number of high street stores, including M&S, Debenhams and House of Fraser.

And the judge heard that the mother-of-two was jailed last year for similar offences of breaching her ASBO and shoplifting.

McLaren, Jedburgh Street, Middlesbrough, pleaded guilty to theft and breach of her anti-social behaviour order and was found guilty of a public order offence and possession of a pointed article – the needle – at Teesside Magistrates Court.

In mitigation, Christopher Morrison, said the mother-of-two is determined to ensure that her children don’t follow her down the path of criminality after following back into her 'pernicious' drug habit.

He said: “Having being recently released from her previous sentence there were accommodation problems, not caused by her but by her partner, and they were facing eviction.

"She left her partner and that is when the offending started again and she started to take drugs again. The offences were committed out of sheer desperation.

"The most serious charge she faces, no one was injured, no one was hurt and there doesn't appear to be any direct action towards the man."

Judge Stephen Ashurst jailed McLaren for 15 months for possession of a pointed article and four months concurrent for the other charges.

He said: "You decided to take out of your jacket a hypodermic needle and said to the security guard that you were going to stick in his face.

"The security guard kept his distance from you, the fact is that you threatened to use it but you didn't use it."

After sentence, the judge added: "If there is more shoplifting and more threats to security staff , you know that the sentences will just continue get longer and longer."