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Jail for prowler caught stripping naked outside Grasmere Gingerbread Shop

John James McCormack, 57, travelled to the Grasmere area in the summer of 2019 seeking to regain contact with a long-lost relative

A nighttime prowler caught on camera stripping naked outside a Lake District shop during a spate of offending has been jailed for almost two years.

John James McCormack, 57, travelled to the Grasmere area in the summer of 2019 seeking to regain contact with a long-lost relative.

But McCormack reacted to failing with that hopeful attempt by getting “blind drunk” and committing a host of crimes, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

During the early hours of July 2 that year, he stole soft drinks from the rear of a cafe and wandered around the outside of another business and a private house, where he tried the front door handle, disturbed a sleeping occupant and discarded a knife he had been carrying.

Those crimes were all captured on CCTV footage, as was what prosecutor Tim Evans called “bizarre behaviour” outside the Grasmere Gingerbread Shop, where he arrived on a bike at 5.30am.

Describing his curious conduct, Mr Evans said: “Urinating; undressing himself to nakedness; then redressing and leaving.” McCormack also later stole a jacket and iPhone belonging to an employee, who had seen the unwanted visitor and spoke of being “annoyed and angry” after discovering his theft.

McCormack’s final crime was at 8.15pm that evening at Kendal’s Pizza Express where he picked up a butter knife and pointed it at a female staff member, who he ran after and threatened to slap.

He was arrested six days later and went on to admit two thefts, attempted burglary, illegal blade possession and public order.

Jeff Smith, defending, said McCormack had “persisted in being a nuisance” after his family reunion bid failed. “The knee-jerk reaction he took on this occasion was the one he has exhibited on numerous occasions – he got blind drunk,” said Mr Smith.

Recorder Abigail Hudson heard McCormack, of Auchinairn Road, Bishopbriggs, Glasgow, had scores of previous convictions – including many for dishonesty and one for indecent assault. She jailed him for 23 months.