Homeless man injured cop while shoplifting in Mansfield for bus fare back to tent

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A homeless man who went shoplifting in Mansfield to raise cash for the bus fare so he could return to his tent injured a police officer when he was chased, a court has heard.

George Richards helped himself to £6.29 of food from Heron Foods at 3.50pm on April 4, said prosecutor Alexis Mercer.

Five minutes later he was caught stealing meat items from M&S and police were called.

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He tried to flee on Pelham Street but when he hurled himself to the ground a pursuing officer fell over him and hit his head, leaving him with a bleeding cut that had to be glued.

Mansfield Magistrates court, Rosemary Street.Mansfield Magistrates court, Rosemary Street.
Mansfield Magistrates court, Rosemary Street.

"He was in a large amount of pain and left with cuts and scrapes to the side of his face," said Ms Mercer.

She said Richards has four previous convictions for seven offences and is currently serving two community orders for criminal damage, battery and making racially-aggravated threats.

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Ryan Higginbotham, mitigating, said: “He made it quite plain he is entirely embarrassed to be before you again. He knows there is no excuse.”

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He said Richards was in Mansfield and couldn't afford to fare to return to his tent in the West Bridgford area.

“He tried to raise funds to get back on public transport. There is a background of desperation. He panicked at the sight of the officers.”

Mr Higginbotham said Richards, who was raised in the care system and has struggled with homelessness, wants to attend college and work in construction.

The 23-year-old, care of Westwood Road, Calow, Chesterfield, admitted shop theft and resisting arrest, when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court.

He was ordered to pay £200 compensation.