Sweet-toothed thief stole £40 of chocolate from Home Bargains

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A sweet-toothed thief was caught after he was spotted by a member of the public taking chocolate from a shop.

James Picken put £40 of chocolate bars in a bag for life he was carrying, Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard.

“The chocolate was taken from the Home Bargains store in the Middleton Grange shopping centre,” said Sarah Traynor, prosecuting.

“He was seen loading the bag by a member of the public, who alerted security staff.

“They detained Picken, and the incident was captured on the centre’s CCTV system.”

Picken, 34, of Rium Terrace, Hartlepool, admitted theft on September 19.

Neil Taylor, defending, said in mitigation: “Mr Picken was in financial difficulties at the time.

“His benefits have now been sorted which removes the motivation for this offence.

“It is unlikely he will offend again.”

The bench ordered Picken to pay £230.59 in costs and compensation.

The money will be consolidated with his existing fines account.