Page last updated at 17:47 GMT, Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Lettuce nose-stuffer avoids jail

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Richard Shannon is seen putting the lettuce back. Footage courtesy of West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service

A West Midlands sandwich bar worker who was prosecuted after footage of him stuffing lettuce up his nose appeared on YouTube has avoided a jail term.

Richard Benjamin Shannon, 22, of Castle Street, Brownhills, was ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work for last year's offence at Subway in Brownhills.

He claimed the incident was a prank and the lettuce was discarded and not sold.

Walsall magistrates said he had avoided a jail term due to his "early guilty plea" and because he had shown remorse.

In the footage taken on a friend's mobile phone Shannon was also seen putting lettuce leaves in his mouth and spitting them out.

Shannon, who was prosecuted under the miscellaneous provisions in the Public Order Act, could have been jailed for up to six months.

'Serious lesson'

He was arrested after an irate woman hurled a chair at him after recognising him in the clip on the video-sharing website, Walsall Magistrates' Court heard.

Magistrates' chairman Elizabeth Baugh, who viewed the video footage, said his actions could have merited a custodial sentence.

She told him: "Your actions caused great distress, not only to the public who consume this food, but also to the company.

"I think you have learnt a very, very serious lesson."

Shannon's defence solicitor, Shelia Hicklin, said the offence was a sign of his immaturity.

"He had absolutely no idea that the person who was in the shop with him was going to put this on YouTube.

"I don't think there has been any suggestion that any member of the public was harmed."

She said that no-one would have eaten the lettuce because it was discarded.

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