A MUSSELBURGH man has been fined after he assaulted a shop worker during an attempted theft at a store in the town.

David Couch, 32, grabbed hold of employee David Brown when he had been confronted about taking goods without paying from Pinkie Farm Convenience Store.

Couch had been attempting to walk out with alcohol and food but had been spotted by a member of the public, who alerted staff.

Employee Mr Brown grabbed hold of Couch and a physical altercation broke out between the pair which saw the shop employee pushed to the ground.

Prosecutor Rosie Cook told Edinburgh Sheriff Court last Friday that the employee was working at the store at about 6.15pm on May 11 last year.

She said: “The complainer was working and was approached by a customer indicating they had seen the accused acting suspiciously.

“The movements of the accused were monitored on CCTV and the accused made his way out of the shop without attempting to pay for the goods.”

Couch was stopped as he attempted to leave this shop and the £29 worth of items he had stolen were fully recovered from him.

The fiscal added: “As he left the shop, the complainer asked him to give back the goods but the accused refused to comply.

“In order to stop him walking off, the complainer took hold of his arm and his bag. The complainer said they had seen the accused take stuff from the shelves.

“The accused responded by grabbing the collar of his shirt and squaring up to him and repeatedly pushing into him with his arms and body.”

Solicitor Colm Dempsey said that unemployed Couch, of Moir Avenue, had suffered from “a significant drug problem in the past” but was currently addressing the matter.

Mr Dempsey said that his client “was intoxicated [at the time]” and “the theft was unsophisticated and of low value”.

The solicitor admitted that Couch’s behaviour after he had been stopped by security was “inappropriate” but that there had been no injury caused.

The court heard that following the scuffle, Couch and the security guard had shaken hands and the offender was “embarrassed” at appearing court.

Sheriff Frank Crowe acknowledged that Couch had a limited income and agreed to restrict the fine to £180.

Couch admitted stealing alcohol and food from Pinkie Farm Convenience Store on May 11 last year.

He also pleaded guilty to assaulting David Brown by seizing him by the clothing, lunging towards him and pushing him on the body during the same incident.