Tesco staff had to ‘run for their lives’ after homeless man hurled bottles of booze at them so he could go to jail

Povey hurled bottles towards Tesco staff because he wanted to go back to prison

Povey hurled bottles towards Tesco staff because he wanted to go back to prison - Credit: PA

A homeless man caused Tesco staff to “run for their lives” as he hurled bottles of alcohol towards them because he wanted to return to prison, a court heard.

The unprovoked attack ended when Steven Povey went behind the counter of Tesco in Bramford Road, Ipswich, opened a packet of cigarettes before lighting one and waited patiently for police to arrest him.

The 31-year-old got his wish to go back to jail after being remanded in custody following a hearing at South East Suffolk Magistrates’ Court.

Prosecutor Colette Harper said Povey had only been released from a previous prison term eight days before Saturday’s incident.

Povey entered the shop at around 9.20pm carrying a black holdall which he dropped to the floor.

Mrs Harper said he then picked up bottles which he began throwing at full force towards members of staff in what was said to be a random, unprovoked attack.

Povey remained silent during the incident, but looked agitated.

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He threw numerous bottles of alcohol at least one of which hit workers, while others smashed and showered them with glass.

One female customer ran out of the store when Povey began hurling the missiles.

Staff pressed the panic alarm before fleeing.

Quoting a police officer’s report, Mrs Harper said: “The officer says they ran for their lives, going to the rear office where they locked themselves in.”

Povey continued to run amok before going behind the till, opening up a packet of cigarettes and smoking one of them. He then awaited the arrival of police officers, seemingly happy with his actions, the court was told.

Mark Holt, mitigating for Povey who admitted theft and affray, said his client had not specifically been trying to hit the staff – one of whom sustained a cut to a hand, while the other was hit in the chest.

Povey hurled bottles for around 30 seconds, almost one after the other.

Mr Holt said: “The cashiers had the wit to duck down initially and ran to make their escape as Mr Povey was re-loading, so to speak.”

Asked whether his client committed the offences because he wanted to go back to prison, Mr Holt replied: “Absolutely. That is his sole motivation.”

The court was told Povey, who gave his care of address as Moore Road, Ipswich, was homeless and had alcohol issues stemming from the death of his mother in 2001.

He was remanded in custody and the case committed to Ipswich Crown Court for sentencing.