A SHOPLIFTER who threatened to smash the phone of a Co-op worker who was filming him stealing has been banned from the store for more than a year.

Matthew Nardolilli, 38, of Tanys Dell, had previously admitted 21 thefts from the Co-op store in Old Harlow High Street between December 18 and February 11 and one charge of threatening to damage or destroy property.

Basildon magistrates imposed an 18-month community order on Nardolilli on Friday as well as the exclusion order with electronic monitoring from the Co-op store he targeted.

He has been ordered to pay £700 compensation and carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

Nardolilli was also made subject of a drug rehabilitation requirement for six months with Open Road and given a rehabilitation activity requirement for a maximum of 20 days.

The court heard how Nardolilli had stolen £2,849.15 of meat, wine, washing products from the store on 21 occasions and, on January 24, threatened a staff member who was filming him stealing.

Nardolilli was identified from CCTV footage of the thefts. He was arrested at his home by the Harlow policing team officers on February 13.

Investigating officer PC Hannah Wix said after the case: “Nardolilli stole repeatedly from the store and threatened a member of staff attempting to film evidence.

Shoplifting is not a harmless crime. It makes shop workers and customers who experience it feel unsafe and, of course, it may also contribute to a general rise in prices at a time when everyone is feeling hard-pressed.

“I hope that the drug rehabilitation requirement imposed by the court has the desired effect of removing Nardolilli’s need to steal in the first place.

“We don’t tolerate shoplifters and encourage retailers to report shop theft any and associated abuse and anti-social behaviour to us.

“Then we can work together with our specialist Business Crime Team and local retailers to keep store staff and customers safe and to gather the evidence we need to secure charges.”