A drug addict threatened a manager and two of her colleagues with a syringe at the Marks and Spencer store in Burnley after being caught shoplifting, a court heard.
Sean Hargreaves (43) a criminal for more than 30 years, took the needle from his pocket and confronted the trio, including manager Diane Woods, when he was taken to the camera room.
Burnley magistrates were told how Hargreaves, who started taking heroin in his teens, weaned himself off in 2007 and didn't commit any crime for almost a decade.
But he went out thieving after he broke his leg and had a plate inserted. Medication did not touch the pain and he went back on heroin.
Hargreaves was spared immediate jail, after admitting theft of meat worth £67.75 between Sunday and Thursday, March 26th and 30th and a lamb joint to the value of £23.33, on Saturday, April 8th, both from Marks and Spencer. He also admitted three counts of common assault.
He was also in breach of a community order.
The defendant, of Parkinson Street, Burnley, was given 12 weeks in prison, suspended for a year and must pay a £115 victim surcharge and £67.75 compensation.
Sentencing Hargreaves, the chairman of the bench, said: "To the victims It must have been horrifying. They didn't know if you were going to use it."
Mr Trevor Grice, defending, said Hargreaves started criminal activity when he was 12 and became a drug addict in his teens.
He was on the " straight and narrow" for nine-and-a-half years but went back to crime when his painkillers didn't help.
The solicitor said: "He said the medication wasn't working.
"He was in terrible pain and regrettably he resorted to the crutch of heroin.
"This is a defendant who is worthy of a chance. It's hoped, as matters stand, we have got him back on the straight and narrow."