A WOMAN has been spared jail after threatening a store security guard with a knife.

Melanie Hart, 38, threatened the security guard of a Lidl store in Derby Street, Leigh, after he had tackled her friend to the ground for attempting to steal a bottle of whisky around 2.20pm on March 30.

Prosecutor Peter Warne told Bolton Crown Court Hart's friend left without paying and attempts were made to follow him by the manager and the security guard.

He added: "They managed to get hold of him and he was taken to the ground. At this point the defendant was in the vicinity and she clearly didn’t like the fact her friend had been detained.

“She had a bottle which she broke by throwing it at the store and then the security guard noticed she had a knife in her hand.

“The knife was of three to four inches and she threatened the guard and the manager with it, telling them to go away and let go of her friend or she would stab them.”

The guard tried to defend himself with the broken bottle and a basket from the store before trying to chase them. They fled towards a nearby petrol station, threatening the guard again. The pair were detained by police and arrested nearby.

Hart, of Orchard Street, Wigan, had no criminal convictions, admitted to using threatening language with intent to cause fear and making threats with the knife and was given a nine-month suspended jail term.

Recorder Ciaran Rankin said Hart was of “good character” and pleaded guilty “straight away” before sentencing.

He said: “You produced a knife with a significant blade and threatened (staff) on a number of occasions, including threats to stab.

“You both left the scene having effectively frightened off the staff but were detained by the police nearby.

“You pleaded guilty very sensibly. You had obviously been drinking considerable amounts and you said your actions were as a result of a heavy-handed attitude that the staff displayed to your friend. But I don’t believe for a second they weren't doing what they were perfectly entitled to do."