Drunken Barnstaple Tesco customer found with knife in pocket

Exeter Crown Court

Exeter Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A drunken customer was found with a knife in his pocket after he confronted security staff at Tesco in the centre of Barnstaple. 

Martin Hatton was homeless at the time and told police the Stanley type knife belonged to a friend who was a carpet fitter. Officers also found a spare blade in his mobile phone cover.  

He was ordered to address a long-standing drinking problem by a Judge at Exeter Crown Court who was told that he has since moved to Kent to live nearer his family.  

The incident at the Tesco Express in High Street, Barnstaple, happened in November 2018 and has taken almost three years to come to court because Hatton missed two hearings. 

Hatton, aged 48, now of Larkfield, Kent, admitted possession of a blade in a public place and two bail act offences and was jailed for five and a half months, suspended for two years by Recorder Mr Donald Tait.  

He was ordered to go on a six-month alcohol treatment programme and a thinking skills course, fined £50 and ordered to pay £115 statutory surcharge.  

The judge told him: “You are a hard-working individual but also, for many years a hard drinking individual. If you carry on, you will find yourself in more trouble, particularly when it comes to being confronted by people in authority such as the security guard at Tesco.”  

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Miss Evie Dean, prosecuting, said police were called to the shop on November 17, 2018 because Hatton was drunk and a nine-year-old boy who was with him was very upset.  

He was found with a Stanley type knife in his pocket for which he had a spare blade in his phone cover. He claimed to have only drank half a bottle of cider.  

Miss Katherine Higgs, defending, said Hatton had been helping a friend fit a carpet the day before and forgotten to return the knife and blade. 

She said Hatton’s alcohol problem arose from abuse he suffered after being sent to boarding school at the age of 11. He has now reached a point where he is willing to accept help to address it. 

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