Wander at Woolies caused problems

HARRY Potter wizardry was having an off day when Mark Ely went to Woolies.For Ely, of Handford Road, Ipswich found himself before the town's magistrates charged with theft of a Harry Potter wand and common assault for hitting a security officer with the magic stick.

HARRY Potter wizardry was having an off day when Mark Ely went to Woolies.

For Ely, of Handford Road, Ipswich found himself before the town's magistrates charged with theft of a Harry Potter wand and common assault for hitting a security officer with the magic stick.

At an earlier hearing the 33-year-old had pleaded guilty to common assault and theft from Woolworth's in Ipswich on January 19. He also admitted a separate breach of a community punishment order.

The court told him he has one more chance to sort out his life or risk finding himself facing a spell in jail and was sentenced to a community rehabilitation order and curfew order.

When he appeared at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court for sentencing, the court heard he had gone to Woolworth's, in Carr Street, at 10.30am on the day in question and was seen ripping the Harry Potter wand out of its packaging.

Pat Taylor prosecuting said he had dumped the packaging and headed toward the rear car park exit before walking toward household goods and then toward the store detective who had been watching him.

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Miss Taylor said: "He was approached by the store detective who told him what he had seen him do. Ely told the detective he "hadn't seen nothing".

"The detective asked him to pay for the item as he had damaged it but he said he was not going to pay. The store guard said he had to pay or the police would be called. Ely threatened to knock him out, pushed him and hit him on the right hand with the item."

Ely ran out of the store, dropping the item on the way, and was chased by the store detective and one of his colleagues before the police were able to arrest him.

Ely has a number of previous convictions and a pre-sentence report had been written but Neil Saunders mitigating added: "I don't think the assault is the most awful assault but it is not right that somebody in the course of their work should be concerned for their safety."

The magistrates warned Ely that his chances of ending up in prison were high but he was instead sentenced to a 12-month community rehabilitation order and a curfew order from 9pm to 7am for four months.

He was also ordered to pay £50 total in costs.

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