A MAN was warned he could have gone to prison after entering a barber’s shop and telling staff he had a knife.
Christopher Harding, 28, was drunk and swigging from a bottle of vodka when he walked into Chaps Barber Shop, North Road, Boldon Colliery, and told frightened workers he had the weapon, adding: “I’m here for the money”.
The 28-year-old, from Hylton Lane, Sunderland, left the premises soon after and didn’t produce a knife during the incident on Friday, January 3, this year.
Police were called when staff spotted him walking past the shop just a few days later and Harding was arrested.
He pleaded guilty to a charge of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour to cause fear, alarm or distress, at an earlier hearing and was back at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday for sentencing.
The court heard Harding had also gone into the nearby Petmeals store earlier in the same day and asked staff “Have you got a problem? Why are you looking at me?” before saying the premises “stank” and then left. Keith Laidlaw, prosecuting, said: “At 5.15pm on January 3, two female members of staff were in the barber’s shop when Harding walked in.
“He said to one of them, ‘I have a knife’. He was switching between being serious and laughing. He said ‘I’m here for the money’.
“He then said I could have a knife, but don’t. He had a bottle of vodka with him. One staff member was terrified.”
Dan Pygall, defending, said: “He says he was drunk, just being daft and joking around. He understands now what impact his behaviour had on other people.”
Harding, was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay court costs of £85.
He must also pay compensation of £50 each to two female members of staff at Chaps Barber Shop and to one female staff member at Petmeals.
Gareth Cracknell, chairman of the magistrates, said: “You could’ve gone to prison today.”