A HEROIN addict who threatened to stab a Waitrose staff member when he tried to stop him from stealing a bag of meat has been jailed for 18 months.

David Owen Baker, 50, pleaded guilty to theft and robbery relating to the incident at the Waitrose store in Parkstone in February last year.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard that on Saturday, February 13 Baker and his girlfriend at the time, Melanie Ashford, were spotted leaving the store with a number of items they hadn't paid.

The court heard that Ashford was a known shoplifter and had been banned from entering the store. As a result she was recognised leaving the store by a member of staff, Edward Cookson, who approached them.

Ashford, when asked, handed over the bag of meat she was carrying to Mr Cookson however Baker was "reluctant" to hand over his items.

The court heard that there was a "tussle over the bag" with Baker demanding Mr Cookson hand it over.

Baker then threatened to stab Mr Cookson, putting his hand in his pocket at the same time to make it appear like he had a weapon.

While the defendant didn't have a knife on him - he removed his hand from his pocket in a "clenched fist" and proceeded to punch Mr Cookson in the ribs.

The court heard that Baker then attempted to run off with the bag but it split causing the items to drop onto the road. He then made off with some of the meat he was able to grab.

Handing down the sentence Judge Peter Crabtree OBE, told Baker he may not have planned the robbery but he had intended to cause Mr Cookson fear.

"While the loss to Waitrose and the injuries to Mr Cookson were minimal the physiological harm you caused was much more serious.

"Your victim was left shaken by your threat to stab him and as a result he has adopted a much more cautious approach to his work."

Judge Crabtree also acknowledged that Baker had shown "some remorse" for his actions and that he was a vulnerable man who suffered from epilepsy and an addiction to heroin.

He was given an 18month prison sentence and once released will be subject to a supervision order for 12 months.