Irate Leicester customer's striptease threat over cost of pot of tea at Costa Coffee
A customer who considered the cost of a pot of tea "grossly indecent" wrote to a cafe branch manager threatening to return and perform a striptease.
Michael Ward (60), of Westleigh Road, Glen Parva, pleaded guilty at Leicester Magistrates' Court to sending a letter "which conveyed a message which was indecent or grossly offensive to cause distress or anxiety".
The letters were sent to the manager of Costa Coffee, in the Clock Tower area of the city centre, on December 17.
He committed the offence while on an 18-month conditional discharge imposed by the court in September last year.
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He was released on unconditional bail to be sentenced on July 16 after a probation report is prepared.
Louise Cox, prosecuting, said Ward's hand-delivered letter was opened by a member of staff who drew the manager's attention to it when he returned to work on December 20.
"The letter was pinned up in a staff area away from the public and contained a threat to carry out a vulgar and lewd act."
Ward wrote that he considered the price of a pot of tea – £1.70 – at the cafe to be grossly indecent and, to draw people's attention to this he would bring a CD of The Stripper and remove his clothing to the music.
Ms Cox said he was an attention-seeker, who told the cafe manager: "You can call me indecent as long as you say you are indecent to charge the price you do."
The manager, concerned Ward would carry out his intention, contacted the police.
Interviewed, Ward said as far as he was concerned he had written the letter as a protest against the high prices and thought whoever read it might consider it funny.
"He admitted writing that he wanted to play the CD and take off his clothing."
She said Ward accepted that the letter could be interpreted as an intention to carry out the action and that some of the people who read it could find it threatening.
James Adcock, representing Ward, said he suffered from obsessive compulsion disorder and was taking medication for it.
"His perception was that he was making a relevant complaint to the cafe but does not seem to have a cut-off point and cannot accept he had any intention to cause distress to anyone when he wrote the letter."