Morrisons booze thieves 'behaved like animals' by throwing bottles and attacking staff and police

Two boozed-up alcohol thieves who behaved “like animals” by attacking police and supermarket staff have been jailed.

Friday, 15th July 2022, 2:59 pm

Intoxicated John Bridgewater and Liam Hunter were responsible for a “disgraceful” and lengthy episode of violence after going into Morrisons, in Hartlepool, at 9am and tried to steal £450 worth of drink.

The East Durham pair were challenged when they tried to leave the store without paying on April 27 and lashed out, leading to members of the staff and police trying to restrain them.

Hunter, 24, squared up to staff and threw a melon and box of lager at a female member of staff hitting her in the chest and and face.

Liam Hunter.

Bridgewater, 35, bit the manager on his left arm as he was being restrained drawing blood, and punched a police officer in the back of the head.

The manager has had to attend hospital for a course of injections to protect against hepatitis.

Annelise Haugstad, prosecuting at Teesside Crown Court, said: “One of the officers described Bridgewater as being in a drug-induced psychosis.

"He appeared to have a high pain threshold, he was spitting, struggling trying to break free.

Morrisons supermarket in Clarence Road, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

"That struggle lasted for between eight and ten minutes.”

Bridgewater also claimed he had a knife but one was not found.

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At the same time, police were trying to restrain Hunter, who claimed to have taken 30 tablets, on the floor when he sank his teeth into the shoulder of a 60-year-old Police Staff Investigator (PSI).

A female member of staff tried to help and struck Hunter, who made threats towards her.

Bridgewater, of Chapel Hill Road, Peterlee, pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm, assaulting an emergency worker, affray, criminal damage and theft.

He was jailed for two years and three months.

Hunter, of Brandling Court, Shotton Colliery, admitted actual bodily harm, theft, common assault and affray, and was sentenced to two years inside.

The judge, Recorder Richard Wright, told them: “Any member of the public witnessing that terrible display of violence that you both enjoyed that morning would have been horrified by your behaviour.

"This was a serious and prolonged episode of disgraceful public disorder and targeted violence.”

Bridgewater and Hunter apologised through their lawyers for their behaviour with each saying they had little memory of the incident.