Wellingborough man who took knife into Tesco avoids jail

General view of Wellingborough Magistrates Court, Midland Road. ENGNNL00120130429123958

General view of Wellingborough Magistrates Court, Midland Road. ENGNNL00120130429123958

A Wellingborough man caught with a knife under his coat as he tried to buy alcohol has received a suspended prison sentence.

Mark Leadbitter, 35, of Butchers Court, was arrested on the evening of September 16 last year.

Wellingborough Magistrates’ Court heard yesterday (Wednesday) how Leadbitter went into the Tesco Express store in Cannon Street shortly before 11pm.

He picked up a pack of cider but as he went to get his money out, staff spotted a black hunting knife inside his jacket.

They refused to serve him and the store’s manager called the police.

Leadbitter left before drunkenly returning and shouting ‘gibberish’, prosecutor Jerena Tomaszewska told the court.

Police were deployed and they found him sat on a bench nearby.

The knife was then found in a sheath behind the bench.

Leadbitter was arrested and told police he used the knife to gut rabbits.

He pleaded not guilty to possession but changed his plea to guilty before a trial.

Mitigating, Mr Bains said Leadbitter went home after drinking 10 pints to pick up a second coat as he was cold, but forgot that the knife was in the coat.

He said: “It was only when he put on the second jacket that he was in possession.

“He should not have had the knife in his possession and he accepts that.

“He threw it into the bushes.”

Sentencing, chairman of the bench Mr Hawkins said: “We take the possession of a knife very seriously.

“You did not use the knife but alarm was caused to the shop worker.

“You knew you should not have had it.”

Leadbitter was sentenced to nine weeks in prison suspended for 12 months.

He was ordered to take part in a six-month alcohol dependence treatment programme with 15 days of rehabilitation requirement, as well as made to pay costs of £200 and a surcharge of £115.