‘Have-a-go-hero’ was grabbed around the throat as he tried to stop thief

Aaron McKillop stole from Wilco and the Edinburgh Woollen Mill in Dereham. Picture: Google

Aaron McKillop stole from Wilco and the Edinburgh Woollen Mill in Dereham. Picture: Google - Credit: Archant

A have-a-go-hero was 'grabbed around the throat' as he tried to stop a prolific thief with more than 220 offences on his record.

Aaron McKillop, 41, who has 63 convictions for 223 offences, including more than 150 for theft, had stolen items worth £212 from Wilco in Dereham before later returning.

Norwich Magistrates Court heard the defendant, who was picked up on CCTV, had been recognised by staff before he came back later the same day.

Anna Crayford, prosecuting, said he was approached by a manager who asked him to hand back the items.

Although he gave some stock back, he headed for the door, at which point two members of the public got involved.

Miss Crayford said one of them went to take McKillop to a holding room while they waited for police.

But the defendant tried to "break away" before he grabbed hold of the member of the public by the throat.

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The man then grabbed McKillop and tried to push him off as he was concerned about what was going to happen, according to Miss Crayford.

Police arrived and the defendant was found with the items from the store on him as well as £146 of items stolen from Edinburgh Woollen Mill.

Miss Crayford said the defendant, who has a "quite extensive" record, gave no comment in interview.

McKillop, of Hill's Close, Sporle, near Swaffham, appeared before city magistrates on Thursday, June 27, when he admitted assault by beating, two theft offences and possession of diazepam, after three tablets were found on him.

Richard Mann, mitigating, admitted his client had an extensive number of previous convictions but had not been in trouble for four to five months up to these offences which was "pretty impressive for a man with 223 previous offences".

The defendant had been on heroin for a long period of time but was now clean and is trying to stay off the drugs following the death of his sister.

He has been trying to look after his mother who has been left devastated by what has happened.

McKillop was given 16 weeks custody, suspended for 12 months.

He was also ordered to pay £150 compensation to the member of the public who was attacked.