A MAN accused of threatening a store manager with a hypodermic needle at Morrison’s supermarket in Connah’s Quay has walked free from court after the case against him collapsed due to lack of evidence.

Apologising to the jury at Mold Crown Court, Recorder Gregory Bull QC, said that although there was "massive suspicion" surrounding Carl David Hayes, "suspicion was not enough" to convict in this particular case.

Mr Hayes, 29, of no fixed abode, also denied breaching a criminal behaviour order by entering Morrison’s and on a second occasion in January by entering the Iceland store in Mold.

But after asking the jury to find Mr Hayes not guilty of all three offences, Recorder Bull pointed to the fact that a proper identification procedure had not been carried out by police officers.

"In my judgement that was a failure," said Recorder Bull, who went on to criticise a number of aspects about the handling of the case against Mr Hayes.

Earlier, the court heard a witness statement from the store manager who had tried to stop a man matching Mr Hayes' description from leaving Morrison's with two bottles of spirits he had not paid for.

It was alleged that Mr Hayes become abusive and a struggled ensued leading to both men falling to the floor before the store manager was threatened with a hypodermic needle and the accused escaped.

During the struggle a black baseball cap has been knocked off the head of the offender and the prosecution has said that DNA taken from the cap matched that of Mr Hayes but this evidence was rejected by Recorder Bull.

"The only real evidence is the DNA evidence but I have come to the conclusion it is unsafe," he said after hearing that a number of DNA profiles could be found on the cap and an expert could not be certain who was wearing it at the time of the offence.

The jury also heard from Natalie Jones who works at the Iceland store in Mold who told the court she had viewed CCTV footage of the alleged offence the day after it took place.

She said she was able to identify Mr Hayes from the footage after seeing various pictures of him over the past year which Recorder Bull said he felt was not clear enough evidence.

Another witness, PC Millington, who had arrested Mr Hayes following the offence, was questioned about his note taking and Recorder Bull agreed that it was not sufficient.

"The officer should have taken more notes," he said. "It cannot be said that there is sufficient evidence for you to convict.

"Ms Jones was honest and reliable but she was trying to identify a man using photographs she had only seen over the previous year.

"This is a rare case of the judge taking the case away from the jury."

Before he was allowed to leave court, Recorder Bull warned Mr Hayes that he was still the subject of a three-year criminal behaviour order made in February 2017 under which he is banned from about a dozen named shops.