Beggar threatened to 'come back with knife and kill' cafe worker in Peterborough

A man was arrested after making threats to kill (stock image)
A man was arrested after making threats to kill (stock image) -Credit:pstonier

A beggar who threatened to kill a café worker in Peterborough has been jailed. Lee Chignell was outside Bear Coffee Shop in Cathedral Square on Wednesday morning (May 15), begging customers for money when he was asked by one of them to leave.

The 33-year-old said: "I will be back with a knife". He left and returned about five minutes later.

The man said he feared Chignell now had a weapon. This was overheard by a nearby off-duty police officer who arrested Chignell on suspicion of a public order offence, while the customer dialled 999 requesting urgent assistance for the officer.

On-duty response officers arrived and took Chignell to March Police Station. He was further arrested after information came to light about an incident in Café Nero, also in Cathedral Square, just before his arrest.

Chignell had reached across the counter and attempted to steal a 'tips' jar but was stopped by a member of staff. He shouted "give me your money" and "I've been in here before with a knife and I'm going to come back with a knife now and kill you", before leaving.

Chignell, of no fixed address, appeared at Huntingdon Magistrates' Court on Friday (May 17) where he was jailed for 26 weeks after admitting making threats to kill, attempted theft, and using abusive or threatening behaviour. He also admitted a charge of criminal damage relating to an incident at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge on April 25 where he lashed out in the A&E waiting room and destroyed a wall light.

PC Kieran O'Shaughnessy, who investigated, said: "Tackling violence and abuse directed at those working in the city centre is a current priority for the City Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team who are working hard to reduce anti-social behaviour, including begging, in the area to make it a nicer and safer place for those visiting the city and working there. Chignell's behaviour was completely unacceptable, I would like to thank the off-duty officer who intervened and managed to detain Chignell before uniformed support arrived."