Big Issue salesman attacked fellow seller in row over pitches

Marks and Spencer's
Marks and Spencer's
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A BIG Issue seller ended up in court after getting into a fight with a fellow vendor, over one of the publication’s pitches in Sunderland city centre in front of Christmas shoppers.

Tempers flared between Michai Stoica and the victim outside Marks and Spencer in High Street West, at 2.20pm on Friday, December 19, Sunderland magistrates heard.

Prosecutor John McGlone said an M&S security guard spotted Stoica, 23, as he ran out of the store, punching The Big Issue seller in the face.

Stoica, of Hadrian Road, Newcastle, was detained and taken inside the store and police were called to arrest him.

He told police he had punched the man because he had had an earlier argument with his brother

Stoica admitted using threatening behaviour to cause fear or provoke unlawful violence under Section 4 of the Public Order Act.

Gavin Sword, defending said: “This arises as a result of an argument between this defendant and a man who sells the Big Issue outside Marks and Spencer.

“There was some kind of argument about the pitch, between him and this defendant, who also sells The Big Issue.”

Mr Sword said the victim had also been rude to Stoica’s wife. “He goes to confront this man and in his temper he has struck him once and that was it,” Mr Sword added.

“It would appear that the victim has not made any complaint about that.

“Ironically, these people are all related. They are all of Romanian origin and are distant cousins.

“They have buried the hatchet and are friends again.”

Magistrates asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared by the Probation Service and Stoica will be sentenced on February 4.

Bench chairman Alan Richardson, added: “This takes place in a really busy shopping area, when children were breaking up from school during the Christmas period.”