Man threatened to kill Sunderland shopping centre staff – then armed himself with scaffolding pole

FILE PIC   npse250614_bridges_DA2     
Entrances to The Bridges Shopping Centre in Sunderland - one of the entrances off Market Square.
FILE PIC npse250614_bridges_DA2 Entrances to The Bridges Shopping Centre in Sunderland - one of the entrances off Market Square.

An ‘extremely agitated’ man threatened to kill a security guard in front of horrified shoppers before arming himself with a scaffolding pole.

Andrew Bolam, 25, left staff and members of the public cowering in fear at The Bridges shopping centre on May 31.

“Had the male managed to hit someone with the metal bar, the injuries could have been very serious.”

Security guard, The Bridges

The incident occurred on a Tuesday lunchtime during the half-term holidays when the centre was full of families and children, Sunderland magistrates court.

Prosecutor Angela Narey said: “He was extremely agitated, angry and shouting ‘I’m going to kick off. Back off or I’ll kill’. He refused to calm down.

“It was midday during the school holidays and the shopping centre was filled with families and children all around.”

Miss Narey said Bolam then left the centre but was seen on CCTV returning to the Market Square entrance armed with a scaffolding pole, saying: “I’m going to smash the centre up.”

In a statement read out in court, one of the security officers said: “I genuinely feared for my own safety, my colleagues’ safety and for members of the public.

Bolam, of Eastfield House, Walker, Newcastle, admitted possession of an offensive weapon and a public order offence under section 4.

Michael Crowe, defending, said: “The bar wasn’t used to threaten, but I acknowledge that he caused fear.”

The bench committed the case to Newcastle Crown Court for sentence, in the week commencing July 18.