A MAN being treated in hospital repeatedly sneaked out to a nearby shop and stole bottles of spirits.

Blackburn magistrates heard staff became suspicious because over a six day stay Michael Bartley appeared to be getting more and more drunk.

He became aggressive and abusive when challenged by a nurse.

But when police viewed CCTV footage they saw he had visited the shop five times, stealing a total of six bottles of Sidekick Spirit and four bottles of Pineapple Sourz.

Bartley, 30, of St Peter's Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to five charges of shoplifting from Shop2Go and two of using threatening behaviour.

He was jailed for 10 weeks and ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge on release.

Catherine Allan, prosecuting, said the first offence of threatening behaviour happened in Blackburn town centre.

Bartley was drunk and causing a nuisance and had been ordered out of The Mall in Blackburn several times.

Police arrested him after he was seen urinating on a wall close to the County Court in Victoria Street, Blackburn.

Miss Allan said Bartley had been an in-patient at Royal Blackburn Hospital for six days.

"He kept absconding and appeared to be getting more and more drunk," said Miss Allan.

"When a member of the nursing staff challenged him about what was in his water bottle he said it was juice but when she pressed him further he became aggressive and said he would smash her face in."

Gareth Price, defending, said his client had long-standing physical and mental health problems.

He said when he was five-years-old Bartley had discovered his father dead and that had left significant mental scars.

"By the age of 11 he was using heroin on a regular basis," said Mr Price.

"He ultimately dealt with that but, as often happens, he replaced one addiction with another and alcohol has become a significant problem."

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Mr Price said Bartley was admitted to hospital with a chest infection.

"When his health improved he started sneaking to a shop which is within spitting distance of the hospital and stealing alcohol," said Mr Price.

"He accepts that when challenged he became abusive to a member of staff but he had no intention of carrying out the threats he made."