A man who turned on a shop assistant who tried to stop him stealing has been jailed.

Blackburn Magistrates' Court heard Anthony Herdman pushed the shop worker before punching him on the jaw.

He then went out of the store, took off his shirt and challenged him to come outside and fight.

Jailing Herdman for 18 weeks, District Judge Alexandra Preston said she viewed the assault on the shop assistant very seriously.

“This was appalling behaviour,” she said.

“Shop assistants often work for the minimum wage and they don’t deserve to be assaulted by people who are stealing from their shop.

“Not only did you punch him on the jaw you then went outside, removed your shirt and challenged him to a fight.

“This was a man who was simply trying to do his job.”

Herdman, 29, of Leyland Road, Burnley, pleaded guilty to assault, using threatening behaviour and six charges of shoplifting.

The shoplifting offences included thefts steaks, lamb chops and other meat with a total value of £180 from Marks and Spencer in Burnley.

Glenn Anderton, prosecuting, said Herdman entered the Premier Store with three other men.

He was recognised by the shop assistant because he had stolen from the shop previously.

“After seeing him put something up his shirt the assistant tried to detain him and was assaulted for his trouble,” said Mr Anderton.

“When he tried to detain the defendant he was pushed back into a table and then punched to the jaw.

“He was pushed again before the defendant left the shop where he removed his shirt and challenged him to come out and fight.”

Mr Anderton said the threatening behaviour involved the defendant’s cousin.

She was at home with her partner when Herdman turned up, the court was told.

He was shouting and entered the house, clearly under the influence of something.

She told him to leave but he made reference to an injury she had and suggested it had been caused by her partner.

He began remonstrating with the partner before she managed to get him out of the house.

“He then started shouting threats and picked up a piece of wood which he started striking the windows and door with,” said Mr Anderton.

“He shouted at the partner to come out and fight.”

Mark Williams, mitigating, said his client realised the assault on the shop assistant was totally unacceptable.

He said Herdman had gone to his cousin’s home to wish her a happy new year and thought she had been assaulted by her partner.

“He directed his anger towards him,” said Mr Williams.