A MAN has been jailed after robbing alcohol from the only shop in his area he was not banned from.

Kevin David James, from Framwellgate Moor, Durham, pleaded guilty to robbery after the incident at the Premier Shop in Front Street.

Durham Crown Court heard the 39-year-old, who has a “substantial” criminal record, went into the shop to buy cigarettes on the morning of Saturday, January 23.

Paul Cross, prosecuting, said James then asked the shopkeeper if he could take a crate of Budweiser beer and return to pay for it later.

When the shopkeeper refused, James proceeded to shove him into a fridge, before putting him in a headlock and punching him.

The court heard he then called him a “black c***” – though James later refuted this – before another struggle, which resulted in the shopkeeper being punched in the forehead. James then left the shop with the beer.

After the shopkeeper called 999, James, of Newton Drive, was arrested at his home that afternoon.

He admitted to police that he had pushed the shopkeeper and that his behaviour was “disgusting”.

However, he denied calling him a racist name and asked police to convey his apologies to the victim.

Mr Davies, mitigating for James, described it as a “unsophisticated” offence.

He added: “It was bound to be detected. Even if he was not aware there was CCTV he was told during the incident by the victim that the matter was being filmed.

“Apparently that’s the only shop Mr James has not been banned from and previously had a good relationship with the victim and his family.”

The court heard he had, on occasion, been allowed to buy items on credit in the past.

Giving him an 18-month prison sentence, judge Ray Singh said: “You have pleaded guilty to a very serious robbery. I have seen the video footage and it was patently obvious it was a robbery and it was a fairly nasty incident to someone who has been kind to you, which is the most baffling thing.

“You are barred from almost every other shop apart from this one.”

He added: “I can only imagine you were fuelled by alcohol.

“He tried to stop you at the door. There was a struggle and you pushed him. You put him in a headlock and punched him.

On the way out you humiliated and degraded him because of his colour. That’s someone who has been kind to you through the years.”

James has a history of offending, with past offences including knife possession, shop thefts and assault.

Mr Singh said: “The court has tried everything possible in the past, suspended sentences and community orders. You can’t say you haven’t been given an opportunity and a chance.”