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Shopkeeper jailed after ‘citizen’s arrest’ put homeless man in hospital

The owner of a shop targeted by thieves has been jailed for two years after taking the law into his own hands and battering a homeless man he suspected of stealing.

Steven Weston, 42, claimed he only intended to carry out a citizen’s arrest.

But Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard he chased the man along London Road, dragged him out of another shop and then set about him with punches and kicks in the middle of the street.

The man was left with two broken ribs and a collapsed lung and spent 11 days in hospital.

Prosecutor Martyn Walsh said a second attacker was also involved in the ‘sustained assault’ on the ‘vulnerable homeless man’ on July 12 last year.

Defending, Stuart Muldoon said Weston had reached the end of his tether because his business had been broken into on several occasions.

He added: ‘His frustrations boiled over. Initially his intention was not to assault him but he accepts he became frustrated.

‘His intention was to make a citizen’s arrest because he had been told the man had offended against him. The defendant said: “I do not know what made me run after him. I think I just had enough”.’

Jailing him, Judge Paul Glenn said: ‘This was an unpleasant offence. You took the law into your own hands and decided you were going to administer some punishment of your own.’

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