A shop thief from Hartlepool blamed the bedroom tax for forcing him to steal perfume to give as Christmas presents.
Ronald Stead travelled to Durham City where he stole two bottles of perfume worth £135, Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard.
“The perfume was taken from Boots in Market Place,” said John Garside, prosecuting.
“He was followed from the store by a security guard who detained him and called the police.
“When interviewed, Stead said he had been in Durham City with his family and had bought a tracksuit for his son.
“He took the perfume to use as Christmas presents.”
Stead, 39, of Allerton Close, Hartlepool, admitted theft on December 5.
He admitted a separate charge of theft on November 19.
“On that occasion he went to a Wilkinson’s store in Hartlepool,” said Mr Garside.
“He filled a black bag with seven Yankee candles values at £63.
“A security guard disturbed Stead and he fled leaving the candles behind.”
John Relton, defending, said in mitigation Stead became depressed after bereavement and other family problems.
“Children who were living with him no longer do,” Mr Relton added.
“The bedroom tax kicked in which led to rent arrears and a general shortage of money.
“There are plans to down size, but he will still have the arrears to repay.
“Drugs have been a problem in his life, he is currently tackling that by taking methadone.”
District Judge Andrew Meachin sentenced Stead to 18 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, including a drug rehabilitation requirement of six months.
Stead was ordered to pay £230 costs.