Meat thief stole steaks after running out of prison release cash

Keith Bingham.
Keith Bingham.

A PROLIFIC shop thief who racked up another conviction after stealing meat from a South Tyneside supermarket has been warned he could end up back behind bars if he doesn’t clean up his act.

Keith Bingham was spotted on CCTV snatching two steaks from Asda, in Station Road, Hebburn, on January 6.

When he was arrested, the 47-year-old said he carried out the theft after running out of money following his release from his latest prison term.

He admitted the theft of two steaks valued at £15 when he appeared before South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

Bingham was jailed for 18 weeks in October for a shop theft from British Home Stores and has more than 60 previous convictions for theft.

Bingham, of Marshall Wallis Road, South Shields, was handed a six-month conditional discharge by magistrates, but was told he could ‘end up back inside’ if he ends up back before the courts again.

Maimuna Bappa, prosecuting, said: “The incident took place on January 6 at Asda in Hebburn.

“A member of staff was viewing CCTV and observed the defendant selecting meat from the fridge aisle and leaving without paying.

“The footage was circulated and Bingham was identified by police.

“When he was arrested he admitted stealing the steaks.

“He said he had been given a discharge grant when released from prison but he had run out of money.

“He has an extensive record for shop thefts.”

David Forrester, defending, said: “When he was interviewed by police he said he knew it was wrong, but he had nowhere else to turn and he had ran out of money.

“From April of this year, people released from custody sentences will be subject to a 12-month licence period.

“At the moment, people come out of prison and have no access to services and just £46 in their pocket.

“This case exemplifies that.

“He had no money, he took £15 worth of steaks, with the view to sell them on. He has a very long record and has been in and out of prison. But he has made immediate admissions and it was a low-value offence.”

Peter Conway, chairman of the magistrates, told Bingham: “We hope we don’t see you again in court or you will probably find yourself back inside again.

“We hope we don’t see you back here.”

As well as a six month conditional discharge, Bingham was ordered to pay court costs of £85, a victim surcharge of £15 and £15 of compensation to Asda.