An impatient thief who swiped a £10 bottle of booze from a South Tyneside store landed himself with a court bill nearly 40 times its value – because he couldn’t be bothered waiting in a queue.
Christopher Harding stashed the bottle from Asda, in Coronation Street, South Shields, into his hoodie, before making a swift exit from the store.
But he was spotted by a keen-eyed member of staff who called in police. They quickly caught up with the 29-year-old, who had the stolen drink up his sleeve.
Harding admitted theft – despite having enough money in his pocket to pay for it.
He was blasted for being out of line by magistrates, with his £10 crime leaving him with a £375 court bill after his day in the dock.
Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “At 12.55pm on Monday, October 26, a security officer in Asda saw the male in the alcohol aisle.
“He appeared to be waiting for other customers to leave the area. He concealed the sherry in his hoodie and left without offering payment.
“Police arrived and found the defendant, who had the drink up his wrist sleeve.
“He admitted the theft and said it was a big queue and I will take a chance. He said he had £12.50 on him at the time.”
Peter Thubron, defending, said: “He does having learning difficulties. There was no premeditation, he just took it upon himself to take the bottle.
“He was caught straight away.”
John Lee, chairman of the magistrates, said: “We all have to stand in a large queue at some time.
“If you didn’t like standing in line you should have put the bottle down and left the store.
“If everyone acted as you did, supermarkets would be out of business tomorrow.
“Next time join the queue. Buying the item would’ve cost you £10 – now it has cost you £375.”
Harding, of Hylton Lane, Sunderland, was fined £120 and must pay a criminal courts charge of £150, prosecution costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £20.