A MAN with nearly 200 convictions has walked free from court after being caught shoplifting.
Carl Taylor stole £11.36 of food items from B&M Bargains in Leigh on January 20, just five days after he was released from prison for an offence he committed in December.
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court heard that the 42-year-old, of Glebe Street, Leigh, had stolen the food items because he was hungry and had no money to buy food.
But after he was arrested, he was found to have cocaine and opiates in his system.
He admitted the shoplifting offence.
Katie Beattie, prosecuting, said: “CCTV showed a man entering the B&M Bargains store with a bag in a basket.
“The man put items into the bag and then left the basket, walking out of the store with the bag and making no attempt to pay for the items.
“The manager contacted the police who recognised Mr Taylor and he was arrested.
“Mr Taylor was on licence after having only been released from prison five days before and he does have 191 previous convictions.”
Louise Barrow, in mitigation, told the court that Taylor had been staying at a friends but had not received any money since his release.
She said: “The friend is happy for Mr Taylor to stay but he does not feed him. Mr Taylor committed the offence because he was hungry and he did not have any money to buy food.
“He did steal it for himself but may have sold some of it to buy drugs.
“He has had difficulties with drugs but he does have a methadone prescription although maybe this needs to be reviewed as it may no longer be strong enough.
“He has now applied for benefits and will start receiving them soon.”
She also said that if Taylor was recalled to prison it would be for just 14 days.
The magistrates said: “You tested positive for class A drugs but then stole food because you had no money to buy any but how did you manage to pay for the drugs?
“You are a repeat offender who is very likely to offend again.”
Taylor was given a 28 day sentence suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay compensation to B&M Bargains of £11.36, prosecution costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £80.