'Tragic story' of drug addict thief who raided Middlesbrough shops and assaulted workers

Janine McLoughlin, 38, attacked two shop workers in Middlesbrough
Janine McLoughlin, 38, attacked two shop workers in Middlesbrough -Credit:Cleveland Police

A drug addict punched one shop worker in the face before soaking another in Red Bull in store raids.

Janine McLoughlin targeted two stores in Middlesbrough on April 13, despite being subject to a suspended sentence order. McLoughlin stole laundry products, to the value of £44.85, from Heron Foods, before targeting One Stop Shop minutes later stealing items to an unknown value.

Prosecuting the case, Nigel Soppitt said the 38-year-old attacked workers at both stores punching one in the face before pouring a drink over his head. She later sprayed another with a can of Red Bull.

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Mr Soppitt said: "She walked into the shop about 3pm and started helping herself to laundry products. She was challenged at the till as she went to leave. The duty manager tried to recover the bag from her and for his efforts he was pushed and punched in the face twice.

"The bag broke but she still tried to recover some of the stolen items. She then threw a drink bottle over him causing him to lose sight temporally and then hit him once again."

Teesside Crown Court heard minutes later she attended One Stop Shop and helped herself to wine before she was challenged by a male worker who took three bottles from her. Mr Soppitt said she threatened him saying she would hit him with a bottle unless he gave them back before she soaked him with an energy drink.

He said: "She took a can of Red Bull and started drinking it before spraying it all over him. He was soaked and said he felt vulnerable."

The former Bridge Street West, Middlesbrough resident, pleaded guilty to two counts of theft, two counts of common assault and breach of a suspended sentence order. The court heard on March 18, McLoughlin was handed a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years. She failed to comply with requirements put in place to help with her addiction and offending.

The court heard McLoughlin has a poor record all linked to her addiction with 43 convictions for 91 offences. In mitigation, McLoughlin's barrister John Nixon, said the defendant accepts she's in breach of her suspended sentence order.

He said: "She hopes the period in custody will be a benefit to her and give her opportunity to abstain inside."

'It's a tragic story'

Sentencing the Low Newton prison defendant, Judge Jonathan Carroll said: "The background to all of this is your drug addiction. An order was put in place on the 19th of March and we even got as far as one review where you seemed enthusiastic and keen to make the most of it but regrettably, at the same time you were in breach of just about every element of it. Not only have you not complied with the requirements but you've committed new offences.

"It's a tragic story drugs are taking away all the opportunities in your life but at the moment you lack the capacity to take advantage of the opportunity which was offered. The shop workers are entitled to be safe when they go about their jobs. They're providing a service to the community, they're not being paid huge wages to carry massive risk. They're entitled to be treated with courtesy. They're entitled to be safe."

McLoughlin's suspended sentence order was activated and she was handed a four-week consecutive sentence for the new offences. In total, she was handed a 13-month prison sentence.