AN alcoholic was Tasered by police after he intimidated shop workers with a broken bottle when he attempted to steal more booze, a court heard.

John Richardson picked up the bottles of wine when he went into the Tesco Express shop in the Cornmill Centre, Darlington, at around 7.40am on January 22.

The 55-year-old was spotted by staff and it was then that they noticed that he was holding the neck of a broken bottle in his hand.

Jenny Haigh, prosecuting, told Teesside Crown Court that he demanded that staff call the police as he wanted to kill himself.

She said: "He made no attempt to pay for the wine, the manager came over and began to speak to him and he told them to call the police.

"When the police arrived they told the defendant on three occasions to put down the broken bottle and told him they were armed with a Taser, he declined to do so and he was Tasered.

"He was taken to the police station and arrested. He was interviewed and he admitted attending the shop to steal alcohol because he wanted to get drunk and had no money to pay for it.

"He had a broken bottle in his hand and said he wanted to kill himself after drinking the wine."

The Northern Echo:

Tesco Express, Darlington. Picture: GOOGLE

Miss Haigh said the member of staff in the shop had been feeling terrified by his actions and said 'she wasn't sure what the defendant would do with the glass bottle'.

Richardson, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to robbery and possession of pointed article – the broken bottle.

In mitigation, Duncan McReddie, said his client had held down a job and led an ordinary life until a few years ago when a number of issues arose in his life.

He added: "He accepts that his behaviour must have been frightening for the staff working in the shop. There was no overt threat apart from holding the bottle, no threat was uttered to them."

Judge Stephen Ashurst jailed Richardson for 32 months for the robbery and a concurrent 12 month sentence for possession of a pointed article.

He said: "You admitted that you were going to steal from the shop and the shop worker was alarmed to see that you had a broken bottle in your hand.

"She was scared and indicated she had been put on edge by your calm demeanour in the store. you were told that the police were coming to the shop and you said you were going to stab the police when they arrived."