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A SHOPPER was pushed to the ground and beaten by a former Nissan worker who turned robber to pay off his drug debt.

The female victim had been buying groceries at her local Spar shop in Sunderland, when she was targeted by Grant Ellis in May.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the terrified victim ended up face down on the ground and was repeatedly hit as her shopping lay strewn around her.

She told police: “I tried to get past him. He hit me with an open hand. I tried to run away, but he quickly got off his bike and followed me.

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 “He began to hit me again. I was lying face down on the ground and he began to hit me around the head.

“I was scared and noticed my shopping was on the floor. My handbag slipped from my grip. I tried to get up, but he held me to the ground.”

The court heard the woman’s screams alerted people from a nearby care home who came to her assistance.

Ellis made off with her mobile phone, which was worth £250, £5 in cash and some sweets. At the time of the attack in May, the 21-year-old was on bail for a robbery he committed with a teenage pal last August.

The pair had accepted a lift from a man they both knew and robbed him of his money, after grabbing the handbrake and getting the victim in a headlock during the journey.

Ellis, of Sorley Street, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to two charges of robbery.

Jamie Adams, defending, said Ellis carried out the attacks after getting into debt when he started taking the legal high MCAT, after he lost his job at Nissan.

Mr Adams said: “He is actually sorry for what he has done.”

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