A BURGLAR with a 30-year criminal past is back behind bars today after a judge described him as a ‘considerable danger to shops and commercial businesses in the Blackburn area’.

Preston Crown Court heard Craig Grant’s latest crime spree saw him assaulting optician staff, burgling a Blackburn nightspot and smashing his way into a sandwich shop before stealing his charity collection box.

Prosecuting, Kimberley Obrusik said 47-year-old Grant’s first offence took place at Tyrells and Embrey Opticians in Darwen Street, Blackburn, at around 1pm on April 18.

Store worker Caroline Dunne had watched drug addict Grant grab a pair of £140 sunglasses before trying to walk out of the shop.

Ms Obrusik said as Ms Dunne grabbed the back of Grant’s jacket to stop him leaving,he flung his arm back with what the victim described as ‘considerable force’ into her tricep.

A description of Grant was circulated and as a PCSO tried to detain him, the defendant began kicking out at them.

Ms Obrusik said Grant eventually had to be Tasered.

As a result of that offence Grant, of Great Bolton Street, Blackburn, was recalled to prison on licence, but was released when that expired.

The court heard that on June 26, Blackburn Railway Station Subway franchise owner Awais Anwar was informed his business had been broken into.

Ms Obrusik said when he arrived at the shop he checked the CCTV footage and saw someone had smashed the front window at 1am. At 4.30am two men, one of whom was Grant, went into the shop on Railway Road and stole a charity box containing £30 and £100.30 from the till. They caused £140 damage to the window and £65 damage to the till.

Grant was arrested for that offence and was released on bail.

The court heard that on July 8, Shh! Bar owner Michael Mahon had arrived at his business on Northgate, Blackburn, with his partner to find a hole in the ceiling above the bar and a hole in the ceiling in the toilets which led outside.

On inspection £1,687 of alcohol had been taken, including several bottles of charity gin from the mayor of Blackburn with Darwen, Cllr Jim Shorrock, who made an appeal for the culprit to be caught. A further £400 of damage was done to the property.

In a victim personal statement, Mr Mahon said he had set up the business with his partner 18 months before the burglary and had enjoyed going into work everyday. Following the break-in that is no longer the case.

Grant, who has 70 convictions for 170 offences, including 117 thefts, 28 house burglaries and 20 business burglaries, pleaded guilty to theft, assault by beating, and two burglary offences.

Defending, Bob Sastry said his client’s offending was linked to his drug habit and when he was clean he did not offend. He said before Grant was arrest for his latest set of offences he had contacted Inspire in a bid to address his drug addiction.

Jailing Grant for 27 months Judge Simon Newell said: “You are a considerable danger to shops and commercial premises in the Blackburn area. It’s not just financial. It is physical as well.”