Shopper hit out at security guard

John Thompson
John Thompson

A THUG who punched a security guard when he tried to kick him out of a shopping centre has been slapped with a community order.

John Thompson had downed up to 10 alcoholic drinks before heading into Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, Hartlepool, to do some shopping.

When he was confronted by security guard Michael Knight and asked to leave, Thompson struck him in the face, causing bruising and breaking his glasses.

But Mr Knight kept his cool and pinned Thompson down until police arrived.

The 25 year old was given a 12-month community order with supervision at Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court and ordered to undergo six months’ treatment for his alcohol abuse.

Thompson, of Luke Terrace, Wheatley Hill, was also ordered to pay £100 in compensation and £50 costs.

Doreen Goode, chairman of the magistrates’ bench, said his behaviour was “unacceptable” as people should “feel safe in their place of work”.

Lilian Atkinson, prosecuting, said the shopping centre has a strict policy of not letting people under the influence of alcohol inside the building. She added: “The defendant had dropped a carrier bag and the security guard picked it up and was asking him to leave when he punched him for no reason. It broke his glasses and caused reddening to his face.

“Thompson became violent and had to be restrained until a police officer arrived.”

The court was told that Thompson, who had pleaded guilty to assault by beating at 5.30pm on February 24 at a previous hearing, has Asperger’s syndrome that can cause problems with how he deals with situations.

Adrian Morris, mitigating, said: “He came into Hartlepool to do his shopping. He’d had a few drinks. It might be seven, it might be 10.

“He wasn’t blind drunk and had finished his shopping and was heading out when he dropped a carrier bag.

“He then misconstrued what the security guard was doing.

“He has had difficulties with Asperger’s syndrome, which is a form of autism, that can cause difficulties with social interaction.

“He wasn’t resisting, he reacted and turned and punched him. He knows that is unacceptable.”