A man who showed a driver an eight inch kitchen knife and demanded a lift across Llanelli minutes after stealing 200 cigarettes and tobacco from a shop has been jailed.
Patrick Duffy, aged 26, made a driver fear he would be hurt if he did not comply when he got into his car on the morning of February 22.
He was sentenced to 52 weeks in prison after admitting to theft, affray and possessing a weapon in public, and was jailed just two days after the offences.
Llanelli sergeant Craig Roderick said: “This was a particularly worrying incident for the victim, who genuinely feared his safety was at risk.
“Thanks to swift and diligent enquiries carried out by the officer in case, the offender was quickly arrested and brought to justice within two days.”
Duffy had gone into the Premier Store in Llwynhendy and asked the cashier for a number of boxes of cigarettes and tobacco. When items worth £116 were placed on the counter, he grabbed them and ran from the shop without paying.
Down the road, he flagged down a passing car and asked for a lift to the Morfa area of Llanelli. Despite the driver saying he could only take him as far as Asda, Duffy opened the car door and got in.
When the driver repeated that he was only going to Asda, Duffy revealed a knife with an eight inch serrated blade, and said ‘take me to Morfa’.
While there was no direct threat made, the driver said he clearly felt that he had no choice but to take him where he wanted, and feared he might be hurt if he did not comply.
As the car passed Trostre, Duffy asked the driver to pull over for him to get out, but wanted him to stay until he returned.
The motorist immediately drove off, and could see Duffy running after him. He noticed that he no longer had the knife in his hand.
On seeing a passing police van, he flashed his lights to alert them and reported what had happened.
The knife was later found under the passenger seat of his car.
Sgt Roderick said: “The victim told officers that while he was driving, Duffy had shown him a tattoo of the word Beefy on his arm. It was established through enquiries that this is Duffy’s nickname, and the fact the victim recalled this led officers to identify the suspect.
“CCTV footage from Premier Store gave further confirmation to officers that Duffy had stolen a significant amount of cigarettes and tobacco from the shop.
“He was arrested in Loughor, and despite making no comment in his interview there was sufficient evidence to charge him with theft.
“Taking a victim-focussed approach, officers diligently pursued all avenues available and CPS later authorised further charges for affray and possession of an offensive weapon.
“This is a clear example of excellent initiative being used in terms of using every second available to the team to gain justice for the victim.”