A THIEF downed five cans of booze in public view in a South Tyneside supermarket – in a bid to get arrested.
Martin Lazenby drank the cans of Smirnoff vodka and cranberry juice at Asda in Coronation Street, South Shields, before leaving the evidence littered around the store.
The 47-year-old even initially told a member of security staff he had consumed 12 cans of the alcohol when stopped.
Lazenby, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to stealing the cans – valued at £9.10 – at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
He had carried out the offence at about 5.35pm on Thursday, and spent the night in custody after being arrested before appearing at court.
The court heard Lazenby had been sleeping rough at the time, and went in the store and took the alcohol in the hope of getting arrested and spending a night in custody with a roof over his head.
John McGlone, prosecuting, said: “A security officer was on duty at 5.35pm at Asda when she was told by a member of staff that a male was on the shop floor acting in a bizarre manner, and drinking a can of Smirnoff.
“When he was approached, he said he had consumed 12 cans and was drinking from a can at the time.
“The police were called, and when they arrived, he said he had drunk five cans and left the empty cans around the store.
“CCTV footage was viewed, which showed Lazenby drinking the items and leaving the cans around the store.
“In interview, he said he had no money to pay for the goods and knew it was wrong.”
Paul Kennedy, defending, said: “He had been suffering from fits, and went into the store to get some alcohol to stop the shaking.
“He consumed the alcohol in the store in the hope of being arrested and spending a night in the cells.”
Lazenby was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay compensation of £9.10 to Asda, as well as a victim surcharge of £5.90 – reduced from £15 due to his lack of means.