A SHOPLIFTER who fled from a store through the fire exit didn't realise he was being watched by two police officers who were standing at the front door.

Blackburn magistrates heard Ryan Williams was caught and detained before he got off the car park at Asda in Accrington.

Williams, 22, of Eastgate, Accrington, pleaded guilty to stealing a vacuum cleaner worth £159.

He was jailed for four weeks by District Judge Alexandra Preston who said the latest offence had been committed just two days after he was released from prison.

Scott Parker, prosecuting, said after entering Asda, Williams removed the security tag from the vacuum and then ran down the centre aisle and out of a fire door.

Lancashire Telegraph: Ryan WilliamsRyan Williams (Image: Lancs Police)

"The whole incident was witnessed by two police officers who were in the store on another matter and they were able to detain him on the car park," said Mr Parker.

Gareth Price, defending, said as soon as he arrived at the hostel accommodation that had been found for him Williams was subject to bullying.

"The people responsible for the bullying did not know him, they just saw him as an easy target," said Mr Price. "They took his release grant and his benefits advance and told him he had to commit this offence for them.

"He was hoping for a fresh start but that hasn't happened."

The court heard Williams had been recalled on prison licence until May 15.