A FOUL-MOUTHED thief threatened staff and customers at a petrol station...including a ten-year-old boy.

Adam Pottle went into the Marks and Spencer store at the BP in Ipswich Road, Colchester, on Tuesday afternoon carrying a large stick, grabbed a crate of beers and then left without paying.

He returned moments later - this time without the stick - and approached the booze again before a shop worker politely approached him.

The 38-year-old said he was going to smash the whole place up and left but went on to approach various customers.

A father and his son had spotted a bottle Pottle had discarded in the pump lane and were talking about moving it when he used expletives towards the pair.

He was arrested shortly afterwards nearby and was taken to the police station where he was put in a cell.

When officers came to escort Pottle, of no fixed address, to his interview, they found he had smeared food he had been provided with and tissues on the door to obscure the peep hole.

He admitted three counts of threatening behaviour, theft and criminal damage at Colchester Magistrates’ Court.

Paul Baker, mitigating, said he had been suffering with long-term mental health issues and had been unable to take medication since becoming homeless in August.

“He was diagnosed 13 years ago with paranoid schizophrenia and has an anti-social personality disorder,” he said.

“Since he lost his accommodation he has taken his medication maybe three times.

“He came from London to Colchester to see a friend.

“They drank alcohol together the night before the incident and again in the morning of it.

“He went to the BP garage and grabbed a four pack of beer, came back and then there was a confrontation.

“He cannot remember the exact words he used at the time and didn’t direct it towards the child. “

Pottle, who has 57 convictions for 130 previous offences, was jailed for four months.

Chairman of the bench Barry Hawes said: “Your record of criminal behaviour is not good, in fact it is quite appalling.”

“You threatened and abused staff and the son of a customer at a BP garage causing them to be in fear of violence.”

Pottle must also pay £75 compensation to the police when he is released which adds to the £3,351.57 in fines he already owes.