A MAN who repeatedly threatened staff with a dirty syringe became known as 'needle man' by many of his victims.

Blackburn magistrates heard when James Walsh was caught in the act he would produce a needle and threaten to stab store staff.

He would also tell them he would 'give them AIDS' while waving a dirty needle at them.

Walsh, 37, of Angle Street, Burnley, pleaded guilty to three charges of theft from Iceland and three of theft from Home Bargains in the town and three charges of threatening a person with an offensive weapon, a needle, in such a way there was an immediate risk of physical injury.

He was sent in custody to Burnley Crown Court to be sentenced on December 20.

Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said all the offences were committed between October 24 and November 7. On three of the occasions when he was shoplifting he was confronted by staff.

“He is known to a lot of these people as 'needle man' because this is something he has done before,” said Mrs Yates.

“In Iceland he told staff that if anyone came near him he would stab them and pulled out a dirty needle.”

He repeated the same threat in Home Bargains and on another occasion in that store told staff not to come near him or he would give them aids, at the same time waving a dirty needle.

Mrs Yates said Walsh had been recalled on prison licence to serve the remainder of his last sentence.

Daniel Frazer, defending, said his client was realistic about what the ultimate sentence would be.

“He would prefer to start the sentence today and so I am not instructed to apply for bail,” said Mr Fraser.