THE priest at the centre of the storm about shoplifting has had a bucket of spaghetti and ravioli poured on him.

Father Tim Jones, the parish priest of St Lawrence and St Hilda, had finished his sermon on Sunday and left the church in Lawrence Street by the rear when Martin Stot threw a bucket of spaghetti and ravioli at him – a reference to Father Jones saying it was better for the hungry and desperate to steal tinned ravioli from a supermarket than to commit violent crime.

Mr Stot, 48, of Lawrence Street, said he filled the bucket with 30 cans of spaghetti and ravioli to throw over Father Jones as he felt the priest’s comments could encourage young people to steal.

He said: “One theft could be on their record for ten years. It would be difficult for them to get a job.

“I was just offended by what he said. I just got this thing in my head where I thought I would make my own little protest.”

Mr Stot, who did not want to show his full face in the picture above, said he bought the tinned food from Asda and hid the bucket in a phone box while he waited for Father Jones to emerge from the church.

When Father Jones came out, Mr Stot threw half of the bucket’s contents down Father Jones’s robes. He said the vicar then stopped to allow him to throw the rest of the spaghetti, although he did not. Mr Stot said he had considered whether his actions would be construed as assault, but decided that his protest was worth making.

Father Jones said it was initially very frightening until he realised Mr Stot meant him no physical harm. He would not be complaining to police.

He said: “It was a frightening and humbling experience, as was the intention. In conversation with the man afterwards, it emerged that his has been a very hard life indeed.

“Last week he saw a TV interview with me and had formed the mistaken belief that I was laughing at the poor and bereaved because I have family and money.”

The vicar, whose sermon was reported around the world after first being revealed in The Press, said when he realised Mr Stot did not intend to hurt him but humiliate him, he decided to stay where he was and let him continue.

Father Jones said he was surprised by the reaction of people to his original sermon, in which he said for the truly desperate and hungry it was better to shoplift from major supermarkets than commit violent crime against people to get money.

Trevor Martin, of St Lawrence’s parochial church council, said the spaghetti attack was “a bit of a stupid thing to do”.

He said he supported the vicar’s original sermon. “I agree with what he was trying to get over but maybe he could have come up with a different way of expressing himself.

“I would much rather that someone who had exhausted all the avenues available to them shoplifted something to keep them going rather than break into my house and attack my wife," he said.