Woman arrested after prawn theft sparks dirty needle threat

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A woman has been arrested after stealing frozen prawns from Iceland and threatening to attack a staff member with a dirty hypodermic needle, police said.

A statement from Sussex Police said: “At 11.40am on Monday (4 September) we received a report that a woman had left the Iceland store in Surrey Street, Littlehampton, without paying for frozen prawns and a bottle of wine. Before the call to police was made, the woman had been chased and confronted by a member of staff in a nearby street, where the woman allegedly threatened to use dirty needles against her although no needles were seen. The woman had then made off.

“By the time police were informed, the whereabouts of the suspect were no longer known but full details of the incident and her description were circulated to all units in the area.

“At 12.54pm we received a report that the same woman had returned to the store and was being detained. When we received the call it was understood that the woman was safely and lawfully detained by staff and local business wardens and an immediate response was not therefore assessed as necessary.

“Officers arrived at 2.42pm and arrested the woman on suspicion of shop theft, threatening behaviour and handling stolen goods.

“After being interviewed the 31-year-old local woman was released under investigation.

“Police are viewing CCTV from the store.”