A shopper stole chocolate and Pop Tarts as she paid for other items.
Kelly Percival was followed by a store detective as she made her way around Morrisons in Ocean Road, South Shields, the town’s magistrates’ court heard.
“She was seen to put some items into her trolley,” said Lesley Burgess, prosecuting.
“She was seen to put other items into a bag for life which was in her trolley.
“At the self-service checkout, Percival paid for the items in the trolley, but not those in the bag.
“When she was stopped outside the store, the bag was found to contain chocolate and Pop Tarts valued at £23.68.”
The court was told Percival claimed at first she had been to the store earlier and paid for the items she was accused of stealing.
Ms Burgess added: “CCTV was checked and no earlier visit could be identified.
“Percival eventually conceded she had stolen the items because she wanted food.”
Percival, 34, of Baring Street, South Shields, admitted theft on October 13.
She has 11 previous convictions, including three offences of theft.
Joanne Gaetens, defending, said: “Ms Percival had just had a mental health assessment which caused her to examine events in her childhood she was hoping to black out.
“She has had problems with heroin abuse, and doesn’t recall going to Morrisons that day.
“Her mental state can be gauged by the fact she left the police station barefoot, wearing her shoes on her hands.
“She is now receiving the appropriate professional help for her mental health problems.”
The magistrates conditionally discharged Percival for six months, and ordered her to pay a £20 victim surcharge.