Homeless heroin user caught after stealing six frozen turkeys from Heron Foods in South Shields
A homeless heroin user got in a flap before a judge when accused of stealing frozen turkey from a South Tyneside store.
Forgetful Simon Bingham, 43, denied pinching six cuts from Heron Foods and insisted on entering a not guilty plea.
But his memory was jogged when his solicitor showed him CCTV of his crime at the retailer’s Market Place outlet in South Shields.
It caused Bingham, of no fixed abode, to admit his guilt – and he also confessed to possession of a single heroin wrap.
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South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard both offences took place on Thursday, July 7.
Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “It’s very straightforward. He goes into Heron frozen foods and basically walks straight to a freezer.
“He lifted out six turkeys, to the value of £36, and put them into a bag and walked out.
“The police catch up with him, but he doesn’t have the frozen turkeys, but he is found with a wrap of heroin.”
Bingham pleaded guilty to shop theft, possession of drugs and failing to attend court for his original hearing on Wednesday, July 27.
The court was told he has several previous criminal convictions but had not been in trouble for three years.
Val Bell, defending, said: “Mr Bingham has in the past been a frequent visitor to this court, but he has managed to stay out of trouble for some time.
“He is homeless and leads a somewhat chaotic life because of that. He has pleaded guilty to having a small amount of heroin.
“Unfortunately, he is using heroin at the present time.”
District Judge Zoe Passfield gave Bingham credit for his guilty pleas and for having stayed crime-free.
But she warned him he would face harsher punishment if he returns to court on another charge soon.
Judge Passfield fined him £120 and ordered him to pay Heron Foods full compensation.
For the drugs charge and for failing to attend court, he was jailed for a day, which he had served by being detained overnight before appearing in court.
She did not impose court costs but ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the drugs.