A man has been sentenced to more than seven months in jail after being found guilty of a number of thefts across Southampton and possessing a ‘baton-like’ weapon.

Andrew Botting, of St. James Close, Southampton, appeared at the city's magistrates’ court on Monday to face charges of possession of an offensive weapon and multiple thefts from a shop. 

The court heard how Botting had gone on a spree of offending over a three-week period in April, where he committed a number of shoplifting offences between Saturday, April 6, and Tuesday, April 23. 

Two incidents occurred on the same day – Saturday, April 6 – where over £500 worth of dog-related items were stolen from a Pets at Home store on Winchester Road.

In another incident, the 46-year-old was seen by staff members at Tesco on Tebourba Way on Saturday, April 13 exiting the premises via a rear fire-door with 12 bottles of Smirnoff vodka and four bottles of Jack Daniel’s whiskey.

The stolen alcohol cost a total of £428. 

He was also seen to threaten a security guard during a separate incident at the same Tesco store on Tuesday, April 23, having attempted to leave the store without making payment in possession of a number of vodka bottles. 

A warrant for Botting’s arrest had been executed after he had failed to attend court following the issuing of a postal requisition in relation to the shoplifting offences he had committed. 

On Sunday, June 30, officers patrolling in Shirley spotted Botting at around 5.40pm on Shirley Road and detained him for his failure to attend court.

During a search, officers discovered a ‘baton-like’ weapon in his possession.

He was later subsequently charged with possessing an offensive weapon in a public place. 

Appearing at Southampton Magistrates’ Court, Botting was jailed for six and a half months for the offensive weapon offence and an additional four weeks in relation to the various shoplifting offences.

The officer in charge of the investigation, Police Constable Ryan Comerford, said: “A prolific offender has now been taken off the streets of Southampton following Bottting’s conviction at Southampton Magistrates’ Court. 

“I am sure that the result will be reassuring to the local businesses of whom Botting has regularly targeted during his offending spree. They can take comfort that he will not be in a position to cause them harm or financial loss through his actions for the foreseeable future. 

"The local community is now a safer place with him behind bars.”