Chocolate thief racially abused worker and issued threats when challenged

A serial shoplifter left staff terrified with threats and a racist insult when he was challenged for stealing chocolates. Michael Crozier had been in a spree of offences in Blyth, Northumberland, where he stole items from various stores worth hundreds of pounds. The former fork lift truck driver had turned to a life of crime after losing his job, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Go here for the latest crime news and breaking North East police updates When staff in Aldi saw him pinching five boxes of Celebrations chocolates, they went after him and challenged him. He told one worker: “I will hit you if you come closer, what you going to do?”

He then picked up a glass bottle and raised it above his head. The court heard he then said to a female member of staff: “Go back to f****** Hong Kong”. When staff bravely snatched the stolen chocolates back from him, he chased them into the store yelling obscenities in front of shocked customers.

He pleaded guilty to racially aggravated harassment, common assault and ten offences of shoplifting. The court heard that between July 17 and September 1, he stole items including alcohol and Aerial washing pods from Asda, Morrison’s, Poundland, Boots, Lidl and Wilkinson, all in Blyth. Crozier, 33 of Cowpen Road, Blyth, who has 35 previous convictions, was jailed for six weeks by Recorder Mark Giuliani.

The judge asked him: “Do you understand being racially abusive to shopkeepers is totally unacceptable?” He replied: “Yes I do.”

Kate Barnes, defending, said losing his job as a fork lift truck driver, through no fault of his own, had led to him turning to shoplifting.

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