A PROLIFIC offender snatched food and drink from two supermarkets the day after being sentenced for another theft.
Carl Farrell, who has more than 50 previous convictions, told magistrates he stole a leg of lamb from Lidl in Laygate, South Shields, and a bottle of wine from Sainsbury in Binchester Street, on Wednesday – to pay off a drug dealer.
He had been given a six-month conditional discharge the previous day, after stealing bacon from the Martin McColl store in Jarrow.
Farrell, 29, admitted the theft from Lidl and asked for the offence at Sainsbury to be taken into consideration when he appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
The court heard Farrell is a drug addict and had carried out the thefts to pay off a dealer, who he had bought a methadone prescription from.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “At 2.15pm on Wednesday, a worker in Lidl in Laygate, South Shields, saw the defendant come in and buy a carrier bag. He came back in the store with the carrier.
“The witness suspected him of stealing, followed him and saw a bulge in the bag.
“He grabbed him by the jacket and he dropped the carrier bag, which contained the leg of lamb.
“He has a lengthy record of convictions.”
Farrell left the store and was followed by the worker, who then lost sight of him. Police were informed and later arrested Farrell, who admitted the theft, and the other offence at Sainsbury, when interviewed.
Both the leg of lamb and the bottle of wine were recovered.
Ian Cruickshank, defending, said: “He is 29 and has been a drug addict for some time. He was buying drugs off a street dealer and was told to carry out the thefts as payment.
“He was threatened with violence if he didn’t do so.
“I accept that he was only in court 24 hours ago, but that doesn’t remove the root cause of why he carried out these thefts.”
Magistrates asked for the views of the probation service, which recommended that he be given a period of supervision in the community to help him tackle his drug problems and get a subscribed methadone script.
Magistrates agreed with the recommendation and gave Farrell a six-month community supervision order, requiring him to work with the probation service.
Farrell was jailed for six months by magistrates in June after going on a crime spree in May in which he broke into a shed, stole a bike, tried to steal another, took goods from four shops and was found with amphetamine on him during the month of May.
At the time, he was the subject of a 12-week suspended prison sentence, which he was given in January of last year after he was convicted of assault.