A drug user was spared jail term for burgling a pub before going on a booze and cigarettes spending spree with a bank card stolen during the raid.
Shaun Ellwood, 46, raided the Story Book pub, at Boldon Colliery, when it was closed after hours but staff were still in the building.
Ellwood, of Ravenswood Square, Red House, Sunderland, took the card from an employee’s handbag and, the next day, used the card four times at a supermarket to buy vodka, other spirits, lager and cigarettes.
But South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told, police were already closing in on the serial thief.
The victim had asked colleagues to check the building’s CCTV as soon as she noticed her purse was missing and Ellwood was identified.
Lee Poppett, prosecuting, said Ellwood had 38 previous convictions and 108 offences on his record – including a 16-month jail term for burglary in 2016.
For the pub break-in, he admitted burglary, as well as four frauds for illegally using the bank card.
He also faced three charges of theft from Asda supermarkets last October, two of which he had pleaded guilty to earlier.
The court heard that on October 19 he stole toys valued at £133 from the Leechmere branch in Sunderland.
On the same day and two days later – both with Anthony Parkin – he also stole from Asda Hartlepool. In one, they netted £246 worth of goods and in the other items with an unknown value.
Parkin, 32, of Ernwill Avenue, Sunderland, pleaded guilty to those offences and a separate theft from Asda’s Leechmere store, at an earlier hearing.
Magistrates adjourned the case but warned Parkin all sentencing options were on the table, including custody.
Joanne Gattens, defending, said Ellwood had a lengthy drug problem but now wanted to turn his life around.
She said: “He feels that he is at the age where he cannot carry on. He is now a carer for his partner and acknowledges that he’s not doing her any good with this revolving door.
“He’s willing to work with drugs agencies. He’s had a drug problem since a young age. He’s got too old for this.”
Magistrates sentenced Ellwood to a total of 28 weeks in prison suspended for 18 months.
He was also ordered to complete a nine-month drug rehabilitation requirement and ordered to pay £306 compensation to Asda, costs of £150, and a £115 victim surcharge.