A SHOPLIFTER who was caught walking out of a South Tyneside shop with a case of lager has been spared jail.
Ralph Oliver was spotted leaving Tesco at The Nook in South Shields with the £16 box of booze at about 10.15pm on May 7.
CCTV footage of the theft was shown to police, who recognised the 22-year-old and went to arrest him.
Oliver, of Hollingside Way, South Shields, pleaded guilty to theft at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
The court heard that in February, he was given a 12-week prison sentence, suspended for a year with 200 hours of unpaid work, after attacking a woman’s back door with an axe.
His latest crime put him in breach of that suspended sentence – which could have been activated by magistrates.
However, magistrates decided to give him a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £15 compensation to Tesco and a £15 victim surcharge.
Chairman of the bench, Michael Conroy, said: “You’re very lucky we’re putting this down as a daft act.
“We don’t want to see you doing anything like this again.
“I’d suggest in the future you stay out of shops when you’re drunk.
“Be very careful about your behaviour from now on.”
John McGlone, prosecuting, said: “CCTV showed him in the store at about 10.15pm.
“He went into the alcohol aisle and picked up a case of lager, and left without paying.
“The footage was shown to police, who recognised him and arrested him.”
Paul Kennedy, defending, said: “He was out with friends and went into the shop to get some drinks.
“When he and his friend were inside, he thought they were going to pay for the drinks.
“He had the case of lager, he was drunk and his friend said to leave so he took it out with him.”
In February’s case, the court heard that Oliver and a pal took an axe and a hammer to try to frighten a rival who they claimed had been bullying them.
However, their target had moved out of the upstairs flat in Laygate, South Shields, some time before and it was now occupied by a woman.
She was woken up by the bungling pair trying to hack their way through her back door.
He pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal damage, using threatening behaviour and possessing an offensive weapon.