Failed bacon thief sprayed with CS gas after Sunderland petrol station rampage

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A SHOP worker was left terrified after confronting a would-be thief.

Shoplifter Joseph Barnes trashed the inside of a petrol station in Durham Road, Sunderland, when the cashier locked him inside.

A court heard Barnes, of Garnet Street, threatened the crying woman and hurled cans of lager at have-a-go heroes who tried to intervene.

He managed to snatch more than £400 in cash and 42 packs of bacon during the raid.

But police eventually subdued him with CS gas and he was arrested after the fracas on June 4.

Barnes, 43, entered guilty pleas to four offences at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court – admitting using threatening behaviour, criminal damage and two charges of theft.

Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “He goes to the Esso garage at 9.15pm on Wednesday evening, where there is a member of staff working on her own.

“He is seen bending down and starts filling his rucksack with items from the shelves.

“The lady working by herself is obviously frightened. She activated the emergency button, locked the main door and contacted the police.

“The defendant walked to the door, realised it was not going to open, put the bag down, then began running at the door, kicking and punching it and shouting at the lady.

“He picked up some cans and began throwing them at the door. Somehow the door managed to be opened.

“Members of the public outside placed a newspaper stand in front of the door, so it was blocked.

He picked up the cans of lager and threw them towards them.”

Barnes, who has 79 convictions on his record, then approached the counter, said Mr Anderson, and the terrified shop worker ran into a back room.

He snatched £230 from the till and a further £185 from a safe, before police came into the petrol station and used their CS gas. They eventually arrested Barnes in a nearby garden, where he was trying to hide the money under some leaves.

Mr Anderson added that the money from the safe was not recovered, with Barnes claiming he had hidden it down his trousers.

Defending him, Gerry Armstrong, said Barnes and his long-term partner were struggling to pay off old drugs debts.

He had been released from prison to find she had suffered a health scare and he was now her carer. “What a blow,” said Mr Armstrong, “when you are hoping to make fresh start. What does he do?

“He does what he always does. If the lady had not put the alarms on and the members of the public had not blocked his way, he probably would have just walked out of the garage and the bacon would have been recovered.”

Chairman Jan Leech said the incident was so serious that Barnes needed to be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.

He was remanded in custody until July 7.