A MAN pretended to have a gun whilst trying to hold up a Chester jewellers in a drug-fuelled daze, a court heard.

James Fox, 27, went on to steal a bottle of wine from a supermarket and cause a scene in a city centre coffee shop on the morning of Sunday, January 6, this year.

High on “street drugs”, he then threatened to bite off the nose of an arresting officer before attempting to attack and bite her during a terrifying trip to the custody suite in Blacon.

Fox, of no fixed abode, was jailed for two years and three months at Chester Crown Court on Friday (February 8).

Appalled by what he was hearing, Judge Steven Everett also took it upon himself to ban Fox from coming within the city walls for five years – despite the police having made no such application.

He told Fox: “The good people of Chester deserve a good, long break from you.”

Brian Treadwell, prosecuting, told the court that two employees of H Samuel on Eastgate Street had been opening up when they spotted Fox duck beneath the shutter, which had risen several feet off the ground.

Luckily both women were inside the shop by this time and had relocked the door so Fox couldn’t get inside.

CCTV footage played to the court shows him standing in the shop entrance, hammering on the door and demanding to be let inside at around 10.10am.

Mr Treadwell said: “The defendant started to bang on the glass, shouting that he was coming in and they should open the tills.

“He said ‘call the police and you are going to get a bullet in the head’. He appeared to be holding something in his hand.”

Fox eventually left but both women were said to be “anxious” and “scared”, believing he was going to do them serious harm.

The judge told him: “I have no doubt that had one of the store assistants not locked the door you would have gone in and tried to rob them.”

The defendant then headed to Sainsbury’s where he stole a bottle of red wine before police caught up with him in Starbuck’s on nearby Northgate Street.

He then became aggressive, threatening to punch, headbutt and bite off the nose of one of the officers.

On the trip to the custody centre in Blacon, Fox repeatedly tried to attack and bite PC Rosie Lewis, who was travelling with him in the back of the car.

In a statement read to the court by Mr Treadwell, the officer said this was the first time in her career that she genuinely thought she was going to get hurt.

“The incident runs through my mind every time I get into the car with a detained person now,” she said.

The court heard that on the previous day – Saturday, January 5 – Fox had also broken into someone’s car and stole a number of items.

It emerged he has 28 previous convictions for 43 offences including burglary, shoplifting, battery, possession of a knife, and robbery.

“It is a formidable record of dishonesty and antisocial behaviour,” Judge Everett said.

Richard Thomas, defending, said his client had shown genuine remorse and had pleaded guilty to the charges of theft, assaulting a police officer and affray at the first opportunity.

On that Sunday, Fox had been trying to get off heroin and was given some “street drugs” to help him with the withdrawal.

“He can’t remember anything that happened during the course of that morning at all, nor the evening before,” Mr Thomas said.

Fox wished to pass on his apologies to the police officer he had threatened, the lawyer added.

Sentencing, Judge Everett said it was a “truly nasty matter”.

He told the defendant: “Drugs and drink have played such a large part in your life that you’ve basically thrown your life away at this stage. You are right at rock bottom, on the scrap heap.”

He described PC Lewis’s statement as “heartfelt”, from an officer who was trying to keep both the defendant and herself safe as he continually tried to attack her.

“What a terrible way to behave,” the judge said. “I know,” replied Fox.

Upon hearing the judge’s intention to impose a restraining order banning Fox from the city centre, Mr Thomas tried to argue that his client had family in the city and needed to access homeless support services.

But Judge Everett was undeterred and imposed a five-year order, meaning the defendant cannot come within the walls “at any time, for any reason”.

Fox will spend half of his 27-month sentence in prison and half on licence in the community.