A thief was caught at the scene of the crime – just minutes after raiding a South Tyneside store.
Lee Thompson was spotted snatching five bottles of lighter gas from Poundland, in South Shields, by the store manager on Tuesday, August 4.
She called police, who discovered the 35-year-old sat on a bench outside the shop, with the stolen items still in his possession.
Thompson, of Beach Road, South Shields, admitted shop theft at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
Janice Bellamy, prosecuting, said: “Police were alerted and five minutes later saw him sitting on a bench outside Poundland.”
Valerie Bell, defending, said: “He has pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.”
Thompson was fined £73 and must pay a criminal courts charge of £150, court costs of £85 and a £20 victim surcharge.