AN unrepentant thief, locked up for a foul-mouthed outburst targeted at Carlisle's top judge, had his sentence cut on appeal.

Michael Tinning, 24, let fly at Judge Paul Batty QC as he was about to be sentenced for a raid on Ramsden's Jewellers, in Carlisle.

Tinning snatched a £1,700 gold chain from a display case at the shop last September.

As Judge Batty was about to announce his punishment, Tinning uttered a muffled expletive and shouted "call yourself a judge?"

Mrs Justice Elisabeth Laing told London's Appeal Court that Tinning then stormed off back to his cell.

He returned to court later to apologise to Judge Batty, a veteran of the bench who was then presiding judge at Carlisle Crown Court.

His "clear contempt of court" was particularly grave as he had come out with a "tirade" against Judge Batty during a previous sentencing hearing.

After he admitted theft, he was hit with a total 18-month jail term - including two months consecutive for the contempt he showed the judge.

Mrs Justice Laing said Tinning, of Carlisle, already had a troubling criminal record.

It included an offence in 2014 when he snatched his own grandmother's £21,000 life savings from under her mattress.

He spent most of the cash hanging out in nightspots and getting high on drugs.

His theft of the gold chain from Ramsden's came soon after his release from jail for this "exceptionally mean" offence, the court heard.

Tinning's case reached the Appeal Court as he challenged his total sentence, which was cut by the panel of three judges.

Mrs Justice Laing, sitting with Lord Justice Davis and Mr Justice Spencer, said the sentence for the theft offence was "severe but not excessive".

But she went on to find that the two-month term for contempt of court was too long, cutting it to seven days.

That means that Tinning's total punishment is now 16 months and seven days.

The judge rejected claims that his "anxious" mental state made him act impulsively but said the contempt of court sentence was "excessive ".

His outburst was not a "tirade", and was so short and muffled that it was not even picked up on the court transcript, she added.

Nor was the crown court hearing "seriously disrupted".

"In all the circumstances, we consider that the right sentence to meet this contempt of court would be seven days", she concluded.

Tinning watched the Appeal Court hearing, in patient silence, via live video link from prison.