Man who sprayed hand sanitiser at Tesco staff and customers is jailed

Father-of-one, 31, who sprayed hand sanitiser at Tesco staff and customers including girl, seven, while shouting ‘I will f***ing do you’ in drug fuelled rampage is jailed for 16 months

  • Adam Waring, 31, sprayed shoppers in the face with a bottle of sanitising fluid 
  • The incident took place at the Ellesmere Tesco store in Salford in October 2020 
  • Waring, of Bolton, admitted affray, common assault and criminal damage 
  • He was jailed for 16 months at Manchester Crown Court for ‘terrifying’ attack

A yob who sprayed a bottle of sanitising fluid in the faces of staff and customers at a Tesco store during a drug-fuelled rampage has been jailed. 

Father of one Adam Waring, 31, grabbed the cannister then unleashed it at shoppers saying: ‘I will f***ing do you’.

His victims included a seven year old girl out with her father at the Tesco store in Ellesmere shopping centre in Walkden, Salford, Greater Manchester.

Several unfortunate customers and staff were hit in the face and eyes with the liquid during the ‘frightening and terrifying’ attack, a court heard.

The sanitisier had been placed at the entrance to the supermarket for shoppers to clean baskets and trolleys as part of Covid safety measures.

Waring, a delivery driver, shouted: ‘Don’t you try and take this f***ing bottle off me – they’ve got chemicals’ before eventually fleeing the store. 

Adam Waring, 31, grabbed the sanitising fluid and sprayed it at shoppers and staff at the Ellesmere shopping centre branch of Tesco in Walkden, Salford, Greater Manchester

The victims from his callous attack in October 2020 were sprayed in the face and in their eyes by the liquid, including a seven-year-old girl

He was arrested at a neighbouring Subway sandwich shop after smashing a table. and being subdued by an off-duty police officer. 

At least four people were attacked with the spray during Waring’s drug-fuelled rampage, with some suffering irritation to their skin.

Shop manager Curtis Steele told police: ‘I do not come into work to be assaulted and was shocked by this incident. 

‘I was scared and unsure what exactly was in the bottle. I thought it was cleaning fluid but I was concerned how much it stung and an optician had to clean my eye.’

At Manchester Crown Court, Waring, of Lostock, Bolton, admitted affray, common assault and criminal damage and was jailed for 16 months.

The incident began on October 2020 last year after he turned up at the store under the influence and picketed up the cleaning spray from a table at the entrance.

Prosecutor John Richards said: ‘Susan Purnell was working at the tills when she heard a customer say: “do not spray me with that.”

She asked him for the bottle and he said: “I will give it to you” but then sprayed it at her, hitting the right side of her face and neck.

‘Other members of staff came to help but the defendant was shouting and swearing. She had no visible injuries apart from irritation to her skin.


Waring left the Tesco store and continued his drug-fuelled rampage. He was later arrested at a neighbouring Subway sandwich shop after smashing a table

‘Manager Matthew Dolby went to the shop floor, saw the defendant with the bottle and confronted him. 

‘The defendant was shouting saying: “I’m going to smash faces in” and said the bottle contained chemicals.

‘A seven-year-old girl was nearby, and the defendant was asked to leave the store.’

Tesco staff urged Waring to leave the store, but he argued with staff when they asked for the bottle.

‘Another manager Curtis Steele heard the defendant say: “Don’t you try and take this f***ing bottle off me” and then sprayed him with it, hitting him in the eye and it immediately started to sting,’ added Mr Richards.

‘The defendant was told to leave but he struck another member of staff across the face causing injury.

‘Mr Steele told police: “I do not come into work to be assaulted and was shocked by this incident. 

‘”I was scared and unsure what was in the bottle. I thought it was cleaning fluid. I was concerned how much it stung and an optician had to clean my eye.”

‘Stephen Howarth was then sprayed on the back of his head, and it got into his eyes. 

‘The father of the seven-year-old girl heard the defendant shout ‘chemicals’ and ‘I will f***ing do you’ before hitting his daughter in the eye. Fortunately, she suffered no injuries and the defendant left for a Subway.

‘The Subway waitress had been told a member of the public was causing trouble and didn’t want to serve him. She told the defendant he was not making sense but he replied: “why don’t you f*ck off.”

‘He then picked up a table and threw it at the glass counter. The defendant needed to be removed from the shop as staff were frightened. 

‘An off-duty police officer happened to be in the store and got the defendant to the floor before officers in uniform could arrest him.

The incident took place at the Ellesmere shopping centre branch of Tesco in Walkden, Salford, Greater Manchester (file photo)

‘They later told police they were worried, felt threatened and thought they could be assaulted, adding they were resentful towards the defendant for behaving in this way for no reason.

‘When interviewed by police the defendant said he did not remember much of what happened and showed remorse when CCTV of the incident was played. 

‘He referred to his behaviour as disgusting and the interviewing officer said his remorse appeared genuine.’

Waring had previous convictions for 63 offences mainly for public order, criminal damage and violence and in 2014 was locked up for 16 months for possessing an offensive weapon.

In mitigation his lawyer Miss Verity Quaite said: ‘His remorse was and is genuine. He was shocked and disgusted by his behaviour and began to cry. He was under the influence of drugs at the time, but he has engaged with numerous agencies to help him address this.

‘He had been free of alcohol and drugs for quite some considerable time before this incident, but tragedy struck when he was denied custody of his child. 

‘This does not excuse his behaviour but does provide important context. He says he had a meltdown and has not been drinking or taking drugs since then.

‘He has regular work, and his employers say he is polite and hardworking.’

Sentencing the judge Mr Recorder Jason McAdam told Waring: ‘You committed this offence in front of children and frontline workers who often earn low wages. 

‘This behaviour was frightening and terrifying for them and this must have been for them and you behaved in a way consistent with madness.

‘While no doubt something awful happened in your life just resorting to the bottle or snorting something up your nose is only going to lead to you repeating this behaviour. ‘ 

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