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Man tried to jump counter and bite staff at Armagh supermarket

A man threatened to jump over the till of an Armagh supermarket and bite staff after trying to leave with a bottle of alcohol in his pocket.

The defendant also proceeded to take his clothes off and beat his chest during the incident at Eurospar.

Three days later and police – responding to reports of a man with an iron bar – found the defendant with a three-litre bottle of cider shouting at customers coming and going from Home Bargains in Armagh.

Appearing before Armagh Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday was Philip Michael Wilson, 35, of Centenary House in Belfast.

He was described by Deputy District Judge John Rea as someone who had displayed a “quite disgraceful” pattern of behaviour.

Wilson pleaded guilty to charges of theft, common assault, attempted theft and four counts of disorderly behaviour during the course of four separate incidents.

The first two happened in Belfast.

On March 29, police were called to the rear of Castlecourt following reports of an aggressive male.

Wilson appeared loud and under the influence of alcohol as officers arrived.

He swore – using the word “f***” multiple times – and continued even after being warned by police to stop.

The defendant was subsequently taken to Musgrave PSNI Station.

The following day, March 30, police observed Wilson kicking the shutters of shops at Adelaide Street in Belfast.

When officers approached he told them to “f*** off” and refused to stop kicking out even after warned.

Court heard the defendant then told police: “You are already dead you just don’t know it yet.”

Wilson’s first offence in Armagh happened at around 2pm on April 22, when police were called to Eurospar on Dobbin Lane.

Staff observed the defendant lift a bottle of Buckfast wine before coming up to the till to buy some chewing gum.

Wilson was challenged about the wine but insisted he had put it back on the shelf.

Staff asked the defendant to open his jacket to be searched and as he did so the Buckfast bottle fell to the ground and smashed.

He became aggressive towards the staff members before leaving the shop.

Wilson returned later and went to the till to buy a bottle of vodka.

It was noted by staff that the defendant had another bottle in his back pocket.

He then proceeded to take off his clothes and beat his chest, shouted that he was going to “jump over the till”, threatening that he would bite staff.

Court heard the alcohol he attempted to steal totalled at £8.42 and Wilson was identified by CCTV.

Defendant’s final offence occurred on April 25, when police were called to Alexander Gardens, Armagh, to reports of a man with an iron bar.

The defendant was found by officers outside Home Bargains on Railway Street.

Wilson was described as being intoxicated, holding a three-litre bottle of cider, and shouting at people who were leaving and entering the store.

The defendant continued to shout even after being asked to stop by police.

He was subsequently arrested for disorderly behaviour and alleged breach of court bail.

Court heard Wilson’s parents had broken up in his “formative years” with his father gaining custody.

Defence barrister Seamus Lannon said Wilson “became addicted to alcohol” after the death of his father.

He said the defendant’s first entry on his record was not until 2012, with Mr Lannon adding that his client had been “able to hold down many jobs until his life spiralled into hopelessness”.

The barrister informed the court Wilson had been admitted on bail last month to a “dry hostel” in Belfast, where he would have breathalyser tests administered daily.

Mr Lannon asked that sentencing is deferred to see “if progress can be continued so as to deal with this in a merciful way”.

Deputy District Judge John Rea stated: “On their own, these are low-level offences but you have shown a pattern of conduct which is quite disgraceful.”

He said this could not be “disregarded in the context of an extremely bad record”, adding: “I am left to think of what final alternative there might be.”

Wilson was made subject of a combination order which included 100 hours of community service.

Deputy District Judge Rea instructed him: “You must also attend and engage with alcohol counselling and mental health services as part of this order for the next two years.”

And he warned Wilson: “If you offend again you leave the court with no option but to send you to prison.”

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