A SUSPECTED shoplifter who was seen in a store wearing a wig as part of an attempt to disguise himself responded to being challenged by staff by repeatedly exposing his bare buttocks.

Repeat offender Steven Robson, 60, committed the offence at Carlisle’s TK Maxx store on April 6, the city’s Rickergate court heard. He admitted outraging public decency and police assault.

Staff contacted the police after noticing the defendant arriving at the store at 9am on, wearing a wig in an apparent attempt to conceal his true identify.

When a worker at the store challenged him and asked him to leave the store, he responded by saying: “You’re only jealous.”

He then added an insult before walking away, exposing his buttocks.

When he was interviewed by the police, he admitted assaulting an emergency worker - a police officer - but he denied any other offending. In court, however, he admitted the second offence of outraging public decency.

The court heard that Robson has 135 previous offences on his record, with the last crime of significance on his record being in October of 2020, when he was given a  43-month jail term.

Mark Shepherd, defending, said the offences in TK Maxx led to the defendant being recalled to prison for 11 months, the remainder of a sentence he already served part of when he committed the two new offences.

Though that sentence had now expired, it represented a real punishment for his conduct at the store.

The lawyer said of Robson: “He is homeless and has been on the street since his release. His mother has been diagnosed with cancer and she lives in a one bedroom flat so at present he is unable to stay with her.

“On the plus side, he is Band A priority for housing and anticipates getting some housing soon.” Robson's problems also included having MS, post traumatic stress disorder, and the lung condition COPS, said Mr Shepherd.

He he was making good progress with drugs counselling. A probation officer in court said there had been concerns within the service of a possible escalation in the defendant’s drugs use.

There was also evidence of his return to a “chaotic lifestyle” such that the risk was not deemed manageable within the community.

District Judge John Templerley said it was only right to take note of the defendant serving 11 months in jail following his recall to prison and he acknowledged that Robson is working with Recovery Steps.

“You need to continue down that road,” the judge told Robson.

For the emergency worker assault, District Judge Temperley imposed a £140 fine but there was no separate penalty for outraging public decency. Robson must also pay £85 costs and a £156 surcharge.