Former Tesco employee who left severed deer’s head on check-out avoids jail sentence


Tesco - Credit: Archant

A DISGRUNTLED former employee who left a severed deer’s head on a self-scan checkout at Saffron Walden’s 24-hour Tesco store has been spared jail.

James Hyett, 33, of Laws Close, Saffron Walden, was instead given a suspended sentence and ordered to pay the clean up bill.

Other orders were also imposed on him.

The incident happened on June 4 at the Radwinter Road store where Hyett used to work.

Colchester Magistrates were told Hyett had been dismissed from his post and felt he had not been supported by his employers.

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Gemma Lee, Hyett’s lawyer, told the court that Hyett’s contract at Tesco was terminated for “one reason or another.”

She said that at the time he committed the offence he was suffering a breakdown and a report read by magistrates pointed to his action having been a “cry for help.”

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In addition to the deers head staff also found what they believed to be animal intestines strewn across a shelf and yellow liquid, believed to be oil, had been poured into a cleaning machine.

Today, passing sentence after an earlier hearing at which Hyett had pleaded guilty to damaging a store check-out, an aisle and a cleaning machine, the magistrates imposed a 16 week jail sentence suspended for a year.

They ordered that Hyett should be the subject of a 12-month supervision order, spend 12 days on a specialist alcohol treatment programme and ten days on an education, employment and training programme.

He was also ordered to pay the specialist clean-up operation cost of £250 and £85 court costs.

Miss Lee added that Hyett was very remorseful and recognised the consequences of his actions and the affect on staff and the public.

“He has taken his own steps to deal with his behaviour,” she said.

She told the court that he was now under the care of a psychiatrist in Cambridge and had engaged with various organisations to help with an alcohol problem.

The incident, Miss Lee said, had made him realise how serious the alcohol issue was becoming.

Chairman of the magistrates Barry Hawes said the suspended sentence was being imposed because magistrates believed there had been an element of planning.

What Hyett had done had necessitated a clean-up by the store and there had been considerable distress and mental anguish to staff and members of the public.

The court heard how store staff found the severed deer’s head on a self-scan checkout. Hyett was identified through CCTV footage.

Prosecutor, Denies Holland, said that he was carrying a bottle of liquid and seen to leave an item at the checkout.

She said that staff working in the bread aisle also noticed a smell and then found what they believed to be animal intestines strewn across a shelf.

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