Shoplifter who racially abused and assaulted Hucknall shopkeeper is jailed

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A man hurled racist abuse when he assaulted a Hucknall shopkeeper who tried to stop him stealing chocolate bars from his family-run store, a court has heard.

Anthony Smedley shoved the chocolate up his sleeve and threatened to spit when the manager of High Street Express told him to return them on February 6, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

He claimed he had a disease and behaved as if he was going to spit.

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When the shopkeeper followed him outside, he was aggressive and made racist comments.

Smedley assaulted and racially abused the manager of High Street Express in Hucknall. Photo: GoogleSmedley assaulted and racially abused the manager of High Street Express in Hucknall. Photo: Google
Smedley assaulted and racially abused the manager of High Street Express in Hucknall. Photo: Google

Smedley, aged 32, started to hit him repeatedly and the shopkeeper grabbed a sign to shield himself before retreating back inside.

He hammered on the the door with such force it smashed at a cost £1,128.

A member of the family pulled him back and a scuffle broke out.

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Members of the public restrained him until police arrived and stolen nicotine sprays were found in his sock when he was arrested.

The shopkeeper described himself as shocked by the incident, and, although uninjured, said it profoundly affected the way he views strangers entering his premises.

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On January 30, Smedley had walked into Tesco in Kirkby where he is ‘well known to staff’ and was followed until he turned and said: “Excuse me duck, is there a piece of chewing gum on my shoe?

"You are f****** following me around.”

He loitered outside before stealing two £16 bottles of car coolant.

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And he stuffed £10 of pork joints up his jumper in Aldi, Kirkby, where he is also well known, on February 3.

The court heard Smedley has 53 previous convictions dating back to 2009, including racially-aggravated public order, and he was jailed for 15 months for a serious assault in 2021.

Daniel Scothern, mitigating, said Smedley turned to drink and drug abuse following his parents’ death and wanted to apologise to the shopkeeper.

He said: “He has sobered up while in prison.

"He has sought help for his alcohol problem, he is clean of drugs, he hopes to return to a job erecting marquees and is looking forward to re-establishing contact with his three children.”

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Smedley, of Lawrence Avenue, Kirkby, admitted racially-aggravated battery, criminal damage and four shop thefts at Nottingham Magistrates Court on February 8.

On Thursday, May 15, Recorder Simon Ash KC jailed him for 24 weeks.