Thief slashed shop worker for refusing to sell him trolley of prosecco

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A thief who slashed a shop worker across the hand for trying to stop him stealing a trolley load of prosecco has been jailed for four years. 

Neville Foster, 51, was heading for the exit of a Co-op in Harrow Road, Paddington, without paying for the wine when Hitesh Patel blocked the exit. Foster pulled out a knife and said: “Come on then, let’s see if you can stop me.”

He tried to kick his way through the glass doors which had been locked, then slashed Mr Patel’s hand so he would release them, Southwark crown court heard. Prosecutor Gregor McKinley said Foster was spotted by staff after he entered the Co-op on May 13 at around 8.45am. “He was seen to put a number of bottles of prosecco into his trolley,” he said. “He proceeded past the checkout without paying and was challenged by Mr Patel.”

The court heard that Foster, a drug addict with a catalogue of previous convictions, eventually got out of the shop with the sparkling wine, but was identified by fingerprints he left on shattered glass in the door. 

“His intention was to sell that prosecco to buy crack,” said Alan Gardner, defending. The court heard Foster, a former chef, was jailed for three years in 2006 under an imprisonment for public protection (IPP) order, and was only judged fit for release in May 2015.

Judge Stephen Robbins jailed him on Wednesday for the Co-op robbery but warned he may struggle to convince the parole board he is fit to be released again as his IPP status still applies.

He said: “Knife crime is rife in this country at the moment and the courts must make it clear deterrent sentences will be appropriate, as too many people are being stabbed and dying.”

Foster, a grandfather, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm, theft, destroying property, and having an offensive weapon.


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