Monday, January 09, 2012

TV Chef Antony Worrall Thompson Caught Shoplifting From Tesco


Things have gone from bad to decidedly worse for recession-hit TV cook Antony Worrall Thompson, the man Gordon Ramsay famously dubbed a “squashed Bee Gee”.

The Ready Steady Crook’s star was definitely on the wane after his restaurant empire went into administration in 2009, owing angry creditors thousands of pounds, and making 60 staff redundant.

But it appears things are far tougher than people thought for the tubby celebrity chef because he’s now been reduced to stealing cheese and wine from Tesco.

And it wasn’t a one-off, of the Richard Madeley ‘sorry I didn’t realise there was a frozen chicken stuffed down my trousers’ school of shoplifting.

Worrall Thompson was arrested in front of shoppers at the supermarket (pic below) in Reading Road, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire - after failing to pay for items at the self-service checkouts FIVE times in 16 days.


Some goods were scanned and paid for while others, including blocks of cheese from the deli and bottles of wine, were sneaked into bags without going through the till.

Suspicious staff are reported to have set up a hidden camera in the self-checkout area to catch the wily 60-year-old and prove he had not simply forgotten to pay.

Wozza - who has appeared on shows including the BBC's Ready, Steady, Cook and ITV's Daily Cooks Challenge, and is a fund-raiser for the Tories - was stopped by security guards as he tried to leave the shop on Friday.

He was arrested on suspicion of theft and questioned at a local police station.

In a statement, officers said: "Thames Valley Police arrested a 60-year-old man from High Wycombe following a report of shoplifting offences. The man has been issued with a formal caution for these offences."

The father-of-four had to admit to the shoplifting offences - which are believed to have taken place between December 22 and January 6 - in order to escape with a caution.


Tesco declined to comment describing it as a "police matter".

But it’s criminal that a man of AWT’s wealth (although he’s been forced to downsize from his £2m mansion in Henley for a home in far less salubrious High Wycombe, he still has a range of branded cookware, a country pub called The Greyhound, two grill restaurants in Kew and Windsor, and a delicatessen in Windsor) should be able to duck justice with just a caution while some single mothers struggling to feed their kids are given prison sentences for the same offence.

If it was just a one-off, a moment of madness, or a genuine mistake, you might understand police being lenient. But as he’s a fairly well-known celebrity, they should have made an example of him and at least prosecuted him in the courts to ensure he got a criminal record.

As Peter Cook once said, there’s one law for the rich...in fact there’s several laws for the rich, and very few for the poor.

UPDATE: Worrall Thompson has now apologised for his “stupid and irresponsible behaviour” and said he would get “clearly needed” treatment following the thefts.

In a statement, he said: “I am so sorry for all my recent stupid and irresponsible actions; I am of course devastated for my family and friends, whom I've let down and will seek the treatment that is clearly needed.

“I am not the first, and I certainly won't be the last person to do something without rhyme or reason - what went through my head, only time will tell.

“Of course, I must also apologise sincerely to Tesco, with whom I'm had a long and genuine working relationship, and to all the staff at the Henley branch, many of whom I've got to know over the years.

“Once again, I am so sorry and hopefully in the future I can make amends.”

MORE: Antony Worrall Thompson puts dolphin on menu


My new book on training to be a chef, including stints at Rick Stein's and the Fat Duck, is available to buy on Amazon for Kindle, iPad, iPhone etc. CLICK HERE to buy for just £2.05, about the price of half a lager.

"It's a bargain and an easy read, I didn't want to put it down." @Mcmoop

"Should be required reading for anyone who has ever dreamed of leaving the monotony of the 9 to 5 rat race to open their own restaurant." Breil Bistro

"A great read and should be a set text if you're considering a change of career, or God forbid, applying to Masterchef." richard

4 comments:

Chippy said...

Can't help but feel sorry for the Ready Steady Twat.

Not sure I agree with you about the caution not being appropriate. And a caution does constitute a criminal record.

Whatever, no second chances for the ol' "prick with a fork"...

BTW: loved the book. Had an appropriate Orwellian feel (as in Down and Out/Wigan Pier, Aspidistra and Coming Up for Air rather than the last two novels). The name was a good choice IMO.

The ending was a surprise...

aptronym said...

Oh dear.

DishyCookery said...

Is this fair?!

T. Charles said...

Is this real? What a shame!