Mum’s angry outburst at Christmas ‘shoplifting’ slur

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A single mother smacked a security guard and spat at a police sergeant after she was “accused” of shoplifting, a court was told.

Part-time holiday flat cleaner Zoe Sharples was so drunk when she was arrested officers had to check on her regularly.

Sharples, said to have scratched her name on a cell wall with, she claimed, a paper clip, spat straight into the sergeant’s face through the hatch when he went to make sure she was safe, Pennine magistrates heard.

The hearing was told Sharples had also hurled abuse at her victims and made threats after starting trouble on a busy Christmas shopping night in Burnley. She had called the Marks and Spencer security officer a “smack head,” after attacking him and had been “shouting all sorts of things,” and insulting officers when police arrived.

The defendant claims she wasn’t intoxicated at all, but her solicitor told the hearing: “There may be some work the probation service needs to do with her in relation to that.” She has a caution for being drunk and disorderly.

Sharples (26), of Park Road, Barnoldswick, admitted assault by beating, police assault and criminal damage to the cell. The mother-of-one, who had previously been warned all sentencing options were open, received a community order with 18 months’ supervision and must obey a seven day curfew, between 7pm and 7am. She was told to pay £100 compensation to each victim and a £60 victim surcharge.

Mrs Alex Mann (prosecuting) said the Marks and Spencer security guard got a radio call for help as two women were said to be trying to steal something and were drunk.

He was looking for them and stood outside the store door, near Next, where he saw a woman getting aggressive with the manager, getting into her face and looking as if she was going to strike her. He asked the woman to leave and without warning, she slapped him to the side of the face. Sharples shouted at the officer: “You’re a druggie. I know you live in Nelson. I haven’t stolen anything.” The victim took the defendant by the arm to guide her outside and the defendant called him a “smack head” and threatened him with her boyfriend.

Miss Mann said Sharples yelled: “I have done nothing, you bitch” to the store manager as she was being taken away by police. The prosecutor continued: “Police officers describe her behaviour as escalating, getting worse and worse. When they arrived, she was shouting all sorts of things.”

Mr Paul Huxley, defending Sharples, said: “She was being accused of shoplifting at the time. She totally denies that. She has never been charged with any shoplifting and it’s really as a consequence of being accused of something she hadn’t done she’s lost her cool.

“The defendant says she had a paper clip to cause the scratches on her wrist. She says she scratched her name on the wall with a paper clip.”

Mr Huxley said it was clear Sharples had some background difficulties. Her pre- sentence report stated she could perhaps have some personality disorder issues. He added: “That perhaps needs to be looked into more closely.”