Man sentenced for threatening shopping centre staff with a knife in Southampton
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A man has been jailed for threatening staff with a knife at West Quay Shopping Centre in Southampton.
Pawel Swiatek, 38, of no fixed abode appeared at Southampton Crown Court on Wednesday (20 September), where he was sentenced to 12 months in prison.
The court heard how on February 23rd this year, Swiatek was spoken to by security staff after it was reported that he had stolen a pair of jeans from the Zara store. The jeans were returned to the store and staff escorted Swiatek from the shopping centre.
Around an hour later, shortly before 6pm, Swiatek returned and threatened two members of security staff with a knife.
Officers attended and arrested Swiatek on suspicion of being in possession of a bladed article in a public place and using threatening/abusive/insulting words/behaviour with intent to cause fear of or provoke unlawful violence. A knife was seized from his trouser pocket.
Swiatek was subsequently charged with the offences and pleaded guilty at a hearing at Southampton Magistrates’ Court in July.
Police Staff Investigator Katie Stafford, who led the investigation, said: “Swiatek’s behaviour towards staff who were just trying to do their jobs was completely irrational and unacceptable, and would have been incredibly frightening to those involved.
“I hope that this sentence demonstrates to businesses and staff across Southampton how seriously we take shoplifting and associated criminality, including the harassment and abuse of shop workers and security staff, who should not have to come to work and face this type of behaviour.
“We know that this type of offending also has an impact on shoppers and local residents who visit these stores and hope that this result sends out a clear message to anyone committing this type of criminality – we will do everything we can to put you in front of a court.
“We will continue to work hard to make Southampton a more pleasant place for residents, visitors and businesses.
“Please continue to report instances of shoplifting and associated crime to us, as they help us build a stronger case against prolific offenders.”