Gas addict thief was armed with ‘cleaver’

A WOMAN armed with a suspected meat cleaver robbed a Cleckheaton shop to fuel her addiction to butane gas.

Gemma Lynch, 33, of Whitechapel Road, committed the offence at nearby Whitechapel Stores.

Lynch, who is now undergoing rehabilitation, admitted robbery and possessing a bladed article. She was jailed for two years.

Leeds Crown Court heard that she entered the shop on June 5 despite already being banned from the premises. Alisha Kaya, prosecuting, said she was staggering and clearly under the influence and was asked to leave by shopkeeper Partik Rana.

She then produced what he described as a meat cleaver from her bag and Mr Rana backed away into the store room. Lynch went behind the counter and stole two bottles of alcohol and cans of butane gas.

Police found about 20 butane gas canisters at her home. She told officers she was addicted to the gas and could not remember much of what happened because she was “in a haze”.

Adam Birkby, for Lynch, said Lynch had been using gas from the age of 14 but her addiction had not taken hold until she was 26.

Mr Birkby said: “This offence was her having reached the bottom depth of her addiction.”

He added Lynch had argued with her partner that day, had no money to buy a canister and in desperation went to the shop intending to steal.

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