A PROLIFIC offender stole a bottle of cider from a South Tyneside supermarket as he was feeling unwell and “needed a straightener”.
Stephen Smith, who has over 140 previous offences on his record, was caught on CCTV snatching the £2.15 bottle of booze from Sainsbury’s on Binchester Street, in South Shields.
The 48-year-old pleaded guilty to a charge of shop theft at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
John McGlone, prosecuting, said: “At 10.28am on February 20, a male was seen in the alcohol aisle picking up a bottle of Bulmers and putting it in his jacket and left without paying. CCTV was viewed and the male was identified as Smith.
“On March 8, he was arrested and said he felt unwell and needed a straightener and intended to take alcohol without paying.”
Christopher Brown, defending, said: “He has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.
“He said he was feeling unwell and needed a bit of a straightener to get him through the next part of the day.
“He was drinking excessively at the time.
“He is now making a concious effort to get off the drink.
“This was a low level, unsophisticated theft.
“He has 146 previous offences and has been in court on over 90 separate occasions.
“It is not something to be impressed about at all.
“But he sees the light at the end of the not-too-distant tunnel now.”
Smith, of no fixed abode, was given a nine-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay compensation of £2.15 to the store as well as a victim surcharge of £15.