A “feral” drug addict who bit two security officers at Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) was jailed today and banned from attending the hospital for two years.

Craig McConnell, 34, was said to be “out of his mind” on heroin and cocaine during the assaults on January 5 having spent almost £4,000 on drugs in the weeks beforehand.

He appeared at Bradford Crown Court this morning having also admitted a string of thefts from shops across the city to fund his habit, which began when he was aged just 11 or 12.

The court heard that the police were called to the hospital after McConnell became “extremely aggressive” to staff, also “rambling and shouting” at people.

After a chase through corridors and some hospital wards, he was eventually detained using CS gas and was held on the floor by a police officer and the two security guards.

Prosecutor Rebecca Young told the court that McConnell bit one guard, Anthony Dennis, on his forearm, refusing to release his grip for a number of seconds.

He also bit the second guard, shouting that he would “chop them up” with a set of knives he was carrying with him in a plastic bag.

Miss Young said that Mr Dennis required a tetanus shot as a result of his injury, and became so concerned about similar incidents happening that he left his job, saying he was “no longer able to work on the front line.”

McConnell pleaded guilty to charges of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, assault, affray, and the possession of a bladed article.

The court was told that prior to that incident, he had admitted charges of shop theft from September 22, October 9, and November 5 and 7.

He targeted shops including Tesco, Co-op, and Marks and Spencer, stealing items including a set of pans, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and bottles of Jack Daniels.

After the offences at BRI, McConnell also pleaded guilty to further “unsophisticated” shop thefts on January 18, 28, and 29, and March 6.

He was finally held in custody after police executed an arrest warrant at his address on Hunters Park Avenue, Clayton, Bradford, on April 22, when officers found goods worth £1,000 from a shed burglary committed the day before.

He said the items, including a stolen bike, had just been left at his flat but admitted a charge of handling stolen goods.

The court heard that McConnell had 182 offences on his criminal record, including 93 for shoplifting.

Upkar Bahia, defending, said his client’s drug addiction had “escalated to levels never seen before” in the run-up to the BRI incident.

He said McConnell had received a back payment in benefits of around £4,000 and had spent the majority of that money on drugs in just a matter of weeks.

He said by January 5, the defendant had been suffering from “drug-induced psychosis and paranoia”, and had gone to the hospital to try and get help rather than with an intent to injure anyone.

Mr Bahia said McConnell had very little recollection of the incident, but had entered guilty pleas at the earliest possible opportunity.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC, said McConnell’s list of convictions ran to more than 32 pages on his record.

He told him: “You seem to have devoted yourself, with some persistence, to a life of crime and an entrenched use of drugs.

“The magistrates have shown you time, time, and time again unbelievable generosity and compassion.

“This set of committals they could not deal with.

“You have taken advantage of the good will of everybody.”

Judge Durham Hall said the fact that McConnell had blown £4,000 in benefits on drugs would be seen as “quite remarkable in the eyes of many.”

Describing the “disgraceful and deplorable” assaults at BRI he said: “Mr McConnell, who has contributed nothing to the well-being of this country goes to the hospital and behaves in that feral and hostile way.”

Alongside a two-year jail term, Judge Durham Hall also imposed a restraining order on the defendant, banning him from attending the hospital unless he is “blue-lighted” there in an emergency.

He said: “I have to get the message out there.

“If people go to hospital and misbehave then they will lose that right.”

A spokesperson for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We will not tolerate violence or aggression against any members of staff from patients and visitors.

"Our front line staff, including security staff, deal with the majority of incidents but we do not hesitate to involve the police and push for prosecutions when necessary.

"We work closely with the police to maintain a safe environment and are grateful for their help when called upon to protect our staff and patients.

“All NHS staff who suffer violence or abuse can be confident that action will be taken against those who have committed assaults.”