A HOMELESS man ended up in court over an argument sparked by the speed with which a Tesco customer was scanning in a pack of crisps.

Michael Ashton, 47, was said to have been in a hurry to reach a hostel in Chippenham so he could warm up his food before spending a night on the streets.

He was behind his victim at the self-service checkouts in the Tesco Metro in Emery Gate, Chippenham, on October 11 last year.

Prosecutor Graham Dono told Swindon Magistrates’ Court that Ashton said words to the effect of “f***, how does it take this long when you’re only scanning crisps?”

The man scanning his crisps grew increasingly worried and looked directly at Ashton, who repeated: “How f***ing long does it take to scan crisps?”

He called for assistance and a security guard ushered Ashton to the store’s exit. He “slapped” the other shopper’s shoulder, prompting the man to shout: “He’s assaulted me.” It had not caused any injury.

Appearing before the court on Saturday morning, Ashton, of Barnard Street, Salisbury, admitted assault by beating and failing to surrender to the court.

Emma Thacker, mitigating, said her client had been in a hurry to reach the hostel so the staff could heat his food before he went back to the streets for the night.

“All he has done is tapped a gentleman on the shoulder and he has apologised for that in police interview,” she said.

Magistrates fined him £40 but ordered the money paid by time spent in the cells.