A homeless man who turned to high-value shoplifting for the deposit on a flat has been jailed.
But 28-year-old Warren Gate's problem will be solved for him when he is released because the authorities will have to find him somewhere to live, his lawyer told Teesside Crown Court
Gate, from Hartlepool, stole three bottles of aftershave worth £243 from Boots on the town's Anchor Retail Park on August 9 and he was recognised from the store's CCTV recordings.
Prosecutor Emma Atkinson said that earlier he stole a 60-inch TV worth £329 from a Tesco store in Stockton and he was caught when an unwitting friend driving him home crashed his car nearby.
The judge said that there was an amount of planning in Gate's offending. He was under a suspended sentence but he had no previous convictions for shoplifting.
Stephen Constantine, defending, said that Gate committed the thefts because he had nowhere to live and no food, and he did it simply to get money to survive.
He said that while Gate was remanded to Durham Jail he had become a mentor to other prisoners helping to teach them English and mathematics.
He was a sheet metal worker and he was confident of finding a job on his release.
Mr Constantine said:"When he is released from prison the authorities will have to help him to find somewhere to live. That has been the overriding problem.
"For 10 years he had been working but then he had problems at home."
Judge Sean Morris told Gate: "It seems to me that you are perfectly capable of leading a normal law-abiding life."
Gate, of no fixed address, who appeared over a videolink from Durham Jail, was jailed for 10 months and disqualified for 17 months after he pleaded guilty to shoplifting and refusing a breathalyser test.