‘Stupid’ Snapchat prankster, 20, is convicted for licking his fingers and wiping them on napkins while shopping in Lidl

  • Benjamin Best, 20, was shopping for his grandparents during spring lockdown 
  • He wiped his saliva on napkins at the store in Bridport, Dorset, on April 3 
  • The video was reported to the police by someone who had viewed his Snapchat 
  • He was sentenced to 18 month community order and 180 hours of unpaid work 

Benjamin Best, 20, (pictured) was arrested for contaminating or interfering with goods with intent and pleaded guilty to the offence

A ‘stupid’ internet prankster who licked his fingers and wiped them on supermarket goods during the coronavirus lockdown has been sentenced.

Benjamin Best, 20, was shopping for his grandparents three weeks into the spring lockdown when he carried out the ‘joke’ at a Lidl store in Bridport, Dorset. 

Wearing protective gloves, he placed two fingers on his right hand into his mouth and then wiped them on a packet of napkins at the front of a shelf. 

He was caught after he posted a video of the stunt on Snapchat where it was viewed by 60 people, and someone reported the footage to the police.  

Best, from Bridport, was arrested for contaminating or interfering with goods with intent and pleaded guilty to the offence which happened on April 3.

He was handed an 18 month community order and told to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work, as well as paying a £90 victim surcharge and costs of £85. 

Prosecutor Charles Nightingale told Weymouth Magistrates Court that Best committed the offence when strict hygiene measures were in place in supermarkets.

He carried out the ‘joke’ at a Lidl store in Bridport, Dorset, and placed placed two fingers on his right hand into his mouth

He said: ‘He was wearing a mask and gloves and licked two fingers in his mouth and then preceded to swipe those fingers across paper napkins on the shelf.  

‘He thought it was a joke. He thought his friends would find it funny. But it wasn’t. Some people who saw it reported it to the police.’

Mr Nightingale added that Best claimed he purchased the packet of napkins but he had not produced a receipt to prove this.

He added: ‘It was a prank but he realises it was an utterly stupid action and that it was done without thought.’

Ian Brazier, mitigating, agreed that his client’s actions were ‘stupid’.

He explained Best did a lot of shopping for family members during lockdown, which explains why he was at the store and not just ‘goofing around’.

He posted a video of himself wiping his hands on a packet of napkins at the front of a shelf, which was seen by 60 people and reported to police 

He said: ‘I think that this was done at the spur of the moment for a laugh. 

Mr Brazier said Best had apologised to his grandparents ‘in length’ about what he did and ‘expressed remorse profoundly’.

In a letter written by one of his grandparents, Best was described as a ‘kind, considerate’ grandson. 

Magistrate Debbie Boitoult said: ‘This was a very serious incident. Given the rules, you committed this offence at the time of extreme stress and fear. You thought it would be funny to make the video.

‘It was clear that people weren’t laughing, hence why you are in court.’ 

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