Thief bit police officers after being caught filling bag in Wolverhampton boots
A woman thief who bit two police officers after being caught shoplifting has been jailed.
Michelle Smith turned violent after being spotted hiding goods stolen goods at a Wolverhampton city centre store on January 11.
Two beat bobbies in plain clothes on the look out for thieves saw the 47-year-old filling her handbag with items that had not been paid for at Boots in Dudley Street.
As they moved in to make an arrest the defendant lashed out, biting the arm of one officer and the hand of the other while also assaulting a security guard.
Smith, from Faulkners Farm Drive in Erdington, pleaded guilty to theft and the assault of all three victims when she appeared at Walsall Magistrates Court. She was locked up for 18 weeks.
Wolverhampton city centre Sergeant Cath Loosemore, said: "Smith was initially compliant but then became obstructive and aggressive.
"Assaults like this are outrageous and totally unacceptable.
"Thankfully the officers were not seriously injured but no-one should have to go to work and face the potential of being bitten while carrying out their duties.
"I’m pleased the magistrates have recognised the seriousness of this assault and imposed a jail sentence.
"It should send out a strong message that assaults on police will not be tolerated and offenders run the very real risk of ending up behind bars."
Between April and December last year, 669 assaults on West Midlands Police officers and staff were recorded − the equivalent of around two attacks every day.
Last week, Chief Constable Dave Thompson said he intends to personally provide courts with impact statements in officer assault cases in order to highlight the effect such incidents have on the force and the wider implications on resourcing
He said: "Our officers will always do the right thing and routinely put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public… but we need to bring to justice criminals who think that it is okay to abuse and hit out.
"Between April and December last year, 356 days were lost as our officers needed time off recovering from assault injuries.
"Time off recuperating from a senseless attack is time taken away from the communities these officers would otherwise be protecting."
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