A CASH-STRAPPED thief who assaulted several security guards went on a shoplifting spree in a bid to fund a solicitor to fight for the right to see his children.

James Fielden-Mytum shouted “Catch me if you can” as he fled from Tesco, in Brook Retail Park, Clacton, with a stolen Henry Hoover, before pushing a security guard.

In June, the thief entered Morrisons, in Old Road, Clacton, filled a trolley with £200 worth of stock and left without paying.

He punched a member of staff and sank his teeth into his arm in the resulting confrontation.

Barry Hargreaves, prosecuting at Colchester Magistrates’ Court, said: “In his statement he says he feels him bite his forearm, when he rubs his forearm there is blood on his hand.

“He was flailing his arms around and hit him to the face.

“The defendant broke free and ran towards Clacton town centre.

“In addition there is a push to another security guard.”

As part of his spree, Fielden-Mytum stole £546 of diet medication from a store in Kent and hundreds of pounds worth of electric toothbrushes and shavers from Boots in Clacton.

The majority of the items were recovered.

Fielden-Mytum, 35, of Rosemary Road, Clacton, admitted five counts of theft and three counts of assault.

The court heard he was motivated by financial need, needing cash to fund a solicitor to represent him in the family courts.

Lucy Osborne, mitigating, said this motive, coupled with mental health issues going untreated for a lengthy period of time, led to the offending.

Fielden-Mytum was struck by a car when he was six-years-old, suffering a serious head injury and lay in a coma for several months.

He has depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder, but hadn’t been receiving his medication following a move from Colchester to Clacton.

Ms Osborne said: “He describes how he had to be resuscitated twice while being treated, he was in a coma for some months.

“It had life-lasting effects. His new surgery was not prepared to prescribe him medication upon which he had relied. As a result of that, his mental health declined.

“Unfortunately it coincided with a time he was told by the mother of his children she was withdrawing contact with him.”

She added: “He embarked on this spree of shoplifting to find a solicitor to represent him in family proceedings.

“Of course, that was a plan that was never going to work, he appreciates that now.

“it hasn’t secured him access to his children - he still hasn’t seen them.

“He would offer genuine remorse for how he has behaved.”

Magistrates sentenced Fielden-Mytum to a total of 16 weeks imprisonment, suspended for a year.

He must complete a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement and pay £450 compensation to the victims.