Bibby Stockholm migrant assaulted security guards after shoplifting, court hears

Ahmed Haffa was arrested following the incident on December 13
Ahmed Haffa was arrested following the incident on December 13 - BNPS

A Bibby Stockholm migrant shoplifted from TK Maxx and assaulted security guards, a court heard.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Ahmed Haffa who punched and bit two security guards when they detained him for shoplifting.

Haffa stole a silver jacket worth £59.99 from TK Maxx in Weymouth, Dorset, but triggered the security alarm as he left the store.

A guard chased Haffa, who told him to “stay the f--k away from me” and threw punches at him.

He then let out a “primal scream” and bit Cullen Henry-Barnes, the security guard, on his finger, drawing blood, before fleeing the scene.

Mr Henry-Barnes and another guard, Callum Hayes, then pursued Haffa through the town centre and tackled him to the ground.

Haffa, 24, punched Mr Hayes in the ribs as they pinned him down while waiting for police to arrive, the court was told.

Believed to be Arabic, Haffa resides on the 222-room Bibby Stockholm barge in Portland Port and was arrested following the incident at 5.45pm on December 13 last year.

In his police interview Haffa claimed he had stolen the jacket as he was “cold and poor” and could not afford to buy one due to his £9 weekly allowance.

He previously denied charges of assault and shoplifting but failed to make the 37-mile journey to Poole Magistrates’ Court on Thursday for his trial.

In his absence he was found guilty and is believed to be the first resident of the Bibby Stockholm to be convicted of a crime since the controversial asylum barge arrived last July.

District Judge Orla Austin issued a warrant for his arrest so he can be sentenced before the court.

It will be the second arrest warrant issued for Haffa after he did not turn up to his first hearing at Weymouth Magistrates’ Court on Jan 17.

He was detained hours later, held in custody and appeared at Poole Magistrates’ Court on Jan 18.

During a brief plea hearing he claimed he could not speak English, even though his defence lawyer told the court he had had a conversation with him in English just before proceedings opened which he “perfectly understood”.

Addressing the court, Judge Austin said: “There is no good reason for Mr Haffa’s non-attendance.

“I heard from two witnesses, Mr Henry-Barnes and Mr Hayes, about the incident on December 13 and I am satisfied the defendant did steal the jacket in question as he admitted in police interview.

“He ran through various streets and when Mr Henry-Barnes caught up with him he threw punches and bit him on the finger requiring him to have medical attention and tests for hepatitis.

“I am satisfied that he threw punches at Mr Hayes and that both assaults happened as they described.

“I’m going to issue a warrant for the arrest of Mr Haffa which it’s a matter for police to execute, and he will be brought before the court to be sentenced.”

Dorset Police said in a statement: “On Thursday February 29 2024 a warrant was issued by Poole Magistrates’ Court in relation to a defendant, aged 24 and of Portland, who had failed to attend court in relation to allegations of theft and assault, and was subsequently convicted in his absence.

“The charges related to incidents in Weymouth town centre on Wednesday December 13 2023.

“Officers are currently carrying out enquiries to locate the defendant.”