A DRUG addict with 78 offences to his name went into a shop and stole three blocks of cheese.
Stuart Peter Armstrong walked into the One Stop Shop, in Wynyard Road, Hartlepool, picked up the dairy products and sneaked them into his clothing.
The 25-year-old was approached by staff and he handed the cheese back before walking out of the shop.
Prosecuting, Joanne Hesse said: “He was identified from CCTV footage and was arrested. He said he didn’t have enough money to pay for the goods.”
Armstrong, of Raby Road, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to the theft from June 22.
Mitigating, Neil Taylor said: “This is an un-aggravated shop theft at the lowest possible level. He handed the goods back immediately.
“They were able to be returned to the shelves and then sold.”
He added: “My client has a long-standing class A drugs addiction.”
Chairman of the bench Peter Yuill gave Armstrong a nine-month conditional discharge and ordered him to pay £40 costs.
He told the defendant: “You are going to have to try and get off drugs, we know you are heavily into them. Your life is going to go downhill otherwise.”