A SHOPLIFTER fled from police, with his arms still handcuffed behind his back, as officers led him from a store.

Jason Wadsworth was on the run for 20 days before he was finally caught and at Bolton Crown Court he was jailed for six months.

Colin Buckle, prosecuting, told the court how police were called to Tesco at Longcauseway, Farnworth, on March 7 after 25-year-old Wadsworth was caught stealing razor blades, a speaker and milk from the supermarket.

"He was taken into the back of the shop in the usual way, police were called and he was arrested in the shop," said Mr Buckle.

"He was handcuffed to the rear, taken to a van, the police officers lost control of him and he ran off. Police officers gave chase but lost him."

He was eventually found almost three weeks later but then granted bail and failed to appear for his court hearing in June.

The Honorary Recorder of Bolton, Judge Martin Walsh heard that he was at large for eight weeks before being caught again and remanded in Forest Bank prison.

He appeared in court via a video link and pleaded guilty to escaping from lawful custody, theft from Tesco, theft of handcuffs and failing to attend court.

During the sentencing hearing Wadworth sat with his feet on a table until a prison officer told him to remove them.

Joshua Bowker, defending, stressed that Wadsworth, of Whitehead Close, Bury, has already spent a total of around seven weeks in prison, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, whilst waiting to be sentenced.

"There was 23 hour lockdown with limited contact with the outside world," he said.

Judge Walsh sentenced him to six months in prison, half of which will be in jail and the remainder on licence in the community.

"If you breach the terms and conditions of licence you will be recalled to serve the unserved part of the sentence," the judge warned Wadsworth.