Thief stole £70 of shopping because he couldn’t ‘make ends meet’

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A THIEF who snatched more than £70 worth of groceries because he couldn’t “make ends meet” has been ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work.

Darrel Elliott was spotted by security staff at Tesco, in Newcastle Road, South Shields, loading up a supermarket trolley with goods before attempting to leave the store.

The 41-year-old was detained at the premises until police arrived, and arrested him.

Elliott, of Edinburgh Road, Jarrow, admitted shop theft at a previous hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

He was back at the court yesterday to be sentenced.

Glenda Beck, prosecuting, said: “At 1.30pm on November 8, he entered Tesco. He had an empty trolley and selected goods to put in it.

“He went through the checkout area without offering payment. He was stopped by a security officer who asked if he had a receipt and he said ‘no.’

“He was then asked if he had paid for the goods and he confirmed he hadn’t. He was brought back in the store, and kept there until police arrived.”

The items were worth £76.68, but no claim for compensation was made by the store as they were recovered.

David Forrester, defending, said: “The offence was admitted at the first available opportunity. He has basically pushed a trolley past the checkout.

“It was not sophisticated at all. It was all down to his financial situation, his inability to make ends meet.

“There has been no offending since.”

Simon Sparks, chairman of the magistrates, gave Elliot a 12-month community order.

As part of the order he must complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

Elliott was also ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge.