Thief told guards he’d give them HIV

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SECURITY guards let a shoplifter escape after he told them they were at risk of being infected with the AIDS virus.

Two staff at The Centre in Livingston Centre were restraining Andrew Dempster when he warned them: “I have a needle in my pocket – do you want HIV?”

Livingston Sheriff Court yesterday heard that the security men immediately released Dempster, 35, who escaped with £200 worth of vodka he had stolen from Marks & Spencers.

Catherine Knowles, prosecuting, said the accused had been caught shoplifting on CCTV on two occasions,

Neither the vodka, nor £75 worth of toiletries he later stole from Poundland in the same shopping centre, were recovered.

Dempster, from Livingston, pleaded guilty to two shoplifting charges.

Sheriff David Young QC imposed a community payback order under which Dempster will have to carry out 50 hours of unpaid work.