99p Jaffa Cake costs South Tyneside thief £182

GARAGE THEFT ... Lee Mulholland.
GARAGE THEFT ... Lee Mulholland.

A SWEET-TOOTHED thief was left with a £182 court bill – after snatching a treat worth just 99p.

Lee Mulholland was told he had ended up with the “most expensive packet of Jaffa Cakes he had ever had in his life” as he admitted the offence at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

The 34-year-old, of Trent Drive, Jarrow, was caught on CCTV stealing the McVitie’s muffin cake from the Esso garage in White Mare Pool, Gateshead on Saturday.

He stole the confectionary despite paying for petrol and chocolate worth more than £11 during his visit to the premises.

Mulholland spent more than 18 hours in custody following his arrest before being brought before magistrates yesterday.

Paul Anderson, prosecuting, said: “It is a very straightforward case. He goes into the garage as a legitimate customer. He pays for £10 of fuel and chocolate but doesn’t pay for the Jaffa Cake muffin worth 99p. He is arrested after being caught on CCTV.”

Jeff Taylor, defending, said: “He pays for petrol and for chocolate and for reasons he can’t fully understand, he has not bothered to pay for the muffin.

“It was a stupid thing to do.

“He has spent 18 hours in custody since his arrest. He has pleaded guilty to the charge at the first opportunity.”

Mulholland was jailed for 17 weeks in February for stealing a charity box and a £700 camera containing precious family snaps after breaking into a South Tyneside takeaway.

He broke into Frydays fish and chip, in East Smithy Street, South Shields, by smashing a glass panel on the door.

But he cut his forearm smashing his way into the shop, and DNA from his blood was used by police to help snare him.

The shop is owned by the Qazi family, whose daughter Llana won a fight for her life after she underwent a heart transplant two years ago.

Magistrates fined Mulholland £77 for his latest offence, as well as ordering him to pay court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £20.

Elaine McCullough, chairwoman of the magistrates, said: “This is the most expensive Jaffa Cake packet you have ever had in your life.

“What an absolutely ridiculous thing to do. You have paid for items but then stole this muffin cake.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazchris