A MAN stole packets of frozen fish from a South Tyneside shop to help pay off electricity and gas bills.
Jamie Brown snatched the items – worth a total of £14.75 – from Farm Foods, in Hebburn.
Magistrates in South Tyneside heard that he took the items in order to sell on and help to pay for energy bills.
The 23-year-old, of Hautmont Road, Hebburn, pleaded guilty to a charge of shop theft.
He also admitted a second charge of failing to surrender to the court after he didn’t appear for his initial hearing into the matter on June 3.
The offence took place on April 13 of this year.
John McGlone, prosecuting, said: “At 2.50pm on April 13, the defendant entered Farm Foods in St James’ Mall, Hebburn.
“He picked up five packets of frozen fish valued at £14.75, concealed them in a carrier bag and left without paying.
“He was subsequently interviewed in regards to the matter by police and made full admissions to the offence.”
He added: “In regard to the fail to surrender to the court, he said he had got his dates mixed up.”
Laura Johnson, defending, said: “Mr Brown was short of money. He accepts he stole money to assist with paying for the electricity and gas bills.
“He made full admissions to the shop theft and should be given full credit for that.”
Brown was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £14.75 compensation to the store.
He was also ordered to pay costs of £85 and a £15 victim surcharge.