A HEROIN addict brandished a syringe at a shop worker who caught him stealing, a court heard.

Gary Smith was spotted taking jars of coffee from the Tesco Express shop in Wigan Road, Bolton, on June 10 last year.

He was stopped as he left the premises by Tesco worker William Mather.

But as Mr Mather held onto Smith’s arm, the thief pulled out a syringe from inside his clothing, took off the cap and waved it in a slashing motion.

The court heard how Smith, aged 29, of Briercliffe Road, Deane, warned his victim, “If I were you, I wouldn’t.”

In a statement to the court, the shop worker said: “I am not ashamed to admit that I was frightened to death.

Peter Cave, prosecuting, told the court how Mr Mather had let Smith go after being threatened with the syringe.

When Smith was arrested, he claimed to have been high on drugs and that he had no memory of the incident.

Later last year, while on bail in September, Smith walked into the Andrea Whipp hair salon.

When owner Caroline Webb came out of a back room, she found Smith rifling through her handbag. She tried to stop Smith leaving but he pushed her out of the way and she banged her head on a door frame, the court was told.

In a statement, Ms Webb told the court that the incident has had a serious affect on her.

“My lifestyle has changed somewhat dramatically,” she stated.

She had not been out socially, had changed her business hours so that she was never alone, had cancelled her gym membership and also had difficulty sleeping.

Phillip Parry, defending, said Smith, who has been convicted 50 times in the last 15 years, hadshown genuine remorse for his actions.

Smith pleaded guilty to theft, possessing an article with a blade or point and assault.

Sentencing Smith to two years in jail, Judge Stephen Everett told him that drug addiction had a serious impact on individuals and the community.

“You are right at the heart of that terrible web,” the judge said.