Thief who threatened a Tesco security guard he’d be dead if he saw him outside has been jailed

Christopher Hobgen had been challenged by the security guard and a shop assistant at the Trowbridge supermarket after he was spotted trying to steal a razor on January 6.

He was banned from the store at the time and subject to a suspended jail sentence imposed in December for, among other offences, stealing from the same shop.

Prosecutor Hannah Squire told Swindon Crown Court the guard tried to detain the 38-year-old, which prompted a claim from the thief that the guard couldn’t touch him.

Hobgen threw a punch, hitting the security guard in the face. He tried to swing at the staff member again.

He told the guard and a store assistant who had come to his colleague’s aid: “If I see you outside you’re dead. I’m going to get my solicitor involved. You attacked me first.”

He was recognised from CCTV. Interviewed by police he said he had no knowledge of the incident.

Two months earlier he had been spotted in Trowbridge by beat officer PC Storm Brand who, his suspicions raised, stopped him.

Hogben had been smoking a crack pipe. He was searched and found to have two lock knives in a bag and one in his pocket. He claimed they were for work.

The Trowbridge man, who has no fixed address, was found guilty by magistrates of common assault, theft and possession of a bladed article. The case was sent to Swindon Crown Court for sentence.

The court heard Hobgen had a poor record for offending, with 27 convictions for 73 offences. They included previous convictions for knife possession and theft.

Jailing him for 10 months, Judge Peter Crabtree said: “These assaults took place in a shop in the evening during the course of a theft about which you had been confronted by Tesco employees only doing their job. They deserve the court’s protection.

“You were on a suspended sentence in part related to thefts from that shop. You are a persistent shoplifter having committed over 20 such offences since 2017. Mitigation is limited save for the fact the razor was recovered.”

Hobgen appeared in court via video link from HMP Bullingdon.

Source – Wiltshire Times