Thief caught with baseball bat near McDonald’s spared jail

Thompson appeared at Crawley Magistrates Court this morning
Thompson appeared at Crawley Magistrates Court this morning

A man who caused alarm when spotted outside McDonald’s with a baseball bat on Tuesday has been spared jail.

Jordan Thompson, 24, also pleaded guilty to a number of thefts in Worthing when he appeared at Crawley Magistrates’ Court this morning.

He was given a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for a year.

Just after 6pm on Tuesday a member of the public reported seeing someone with a baseball bat outside McDonald’s restaurant in Liverpool Road in Worthing and called the police.

Mark Kateley, prosecuting, clarified that Thompson, who is homeless, was not ‘brandishing’ the bat, but added: “clearly it is an item he should not have had at night-time in that area.”

Thompson was found with items he had taken from Tesco in Chapel Road, he said.

Mr Kateley told the court Thompson had been released from custody in Worthing earlier that day and had set about looking for somewhere to sleep.

“He saw a baseball bat and kept it for his own protection,” he added.

Thompson also admitted a number of thefts in the town, including taking clothes from Peacocks in Chapel Road and Lego boxed sets from Beales department store and WHSmith in South Street.

Mr Kateley said that Thompson took the clothing to keep warm, and intended to sell the Lego to ‘someone who would pay half’.

Adrian Butt, defending, said: “I do not think he had the baseball bat for more than half an hour.”

Addressing the thefts, Mr Butt said: “He has a problem, he sees a solution and he takes it. He does not think it through.”

In total he was sentenced for six thefts, two of which he had asked to be taken into consideration, as well as the possession of an offensive weapon.

Chairman of the Bench David Whitehead said he felt the threshold for a prison term had been reached and sentenced Thompson 26 weeks in jail.

However he said the sentence would be suspended in order to allow Thompson get help from charities Change, Grow, Live and Worthing Churches Homeless Projects.

“If you carry on going the way you are going you will probably be back here tomorrow,” he added. “This is really your last chance.”

In addition to the suspended prison term, Thompson was ordered to pay £30 in compensation to Peacocks and £50 court costs. He was served with a deprivation order for the baseball bat.

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