A DRUG addict has been jailed for two years and five months for threatening supermarket staff with a hypodermic needle and stabbing a store assistant in the leg.

Gina Barker, a heroin user since childhood, drove the needle so hard into Jane Charlotte that it bent, Bradford Crown Court was told yesterday.

Mrs Charlotte, 44, is still awaiting a six month "all clear" that she had not been infected in the attack, prosecutor Andrew Horton said.

Barker, 37, of Peel Park House, Cliffe Road, Undercliffe, Bradford, was a serial shoplifter on prison licence when she committed the latest string of offences, the court heard.

Judge David Hatton QC told her: "You are 37-years-old and you have a dreadful history of dishonest offending, going back many years, and you have been before the courts many time, mainly for thefts from shops on a regular basis.

"This is a sad case in many ways and a living testimony to how the use of, and addiction to, drugs can ruin a life, as this has done to yours."

Barker had been out of jail for fewer than two months when she entered Sainsbury's in Harrogate Road, Bradford, on June 6 and stole two bottles of Jack Daniels whisky.

Five days later, she struck at the Co-op in Wrose Road, Shipley, at 7.50pm. When store worker Mackayla McLaughlin caught her stealing two bottles of alcohol, Barker grabbed her wrist, pulled out a needle, took off the cap and held it towards her face.

The third series of offences took place at Tesco Extra in Batley Shopping Centre at 2.30am on July 28. Barker and a male accomplice piled a trolley with £352 of goods, wrapping tin foil round some of the security tags in a bid to avoid detection.

When Barker was challenged by staff members, she stabbed Mrs Charlotte in the left leg with a needle and assaulted store worker Russel Sowray and security guard Sabar Nawaz.

Mr Sowray was bitten on the arm and Mr Nawaz was scratched with what he believed was a needle, Mr Horton said.

Miss Charlotte was treated in hospital and was anxiously awaiting the six month "all clear" on whether she had been infected by the needle.

Barker pleaded guilty to offences of theft, battery, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and making threats with a hypodermic needle.

She had 45 previous convictions for 93 offences and was banned from all Co-op and Sainsbury's stores, the court heard.

Ray Singh said in mitigation that Barker was "now at rock bottom".

A heroin addict since childhood, she fully realised she was going to prison.

"She is immensely apologetic to the complainant in this matter," Mr Singh said.

She drew the needle to frighten the staff away and had been tackling her drug addiction while on remand in prison.

Barker was the mother of two children and doing her level best to turn her life round, Mr Singh said.