Magistrates Tell Shoplifter ""We Are Hacked Off With You

MAGISTRATES are hacked off with shoplifter Simon Clarke, he was told at Ely courthouse this week. Clarke admitted stealing �13.54 worth of food from Tesco, claiming that bad budgeting had left him without cash or food. That theft had put him in breach

MAGISTRATES are "hacked off" with shoplifter Simon Clarke, he was told at Ely courthouse this week.

Clarke admitted stealing �13.54 worth of food from Tesco, claiming that "bad budgeting" had left him without cash or food.

That theft had put him in breach of a conditional discharge he was given for a previous theft offence.

"You have got to grow up and look after your accounts, get some jam jars and put away money for your bills," suggested presiding magistrate Hamish Ross.

"This bench is hacked off with you. You will not breach your conditional discharge again, it is non-negotiable."

The court heard how Clarke was watched by staff the Tesco store in Ely, as he placed items in a trolley, and then transferred them into a carrier bag.

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"This was a case of poor budgeting," said solicitor Jacqui Baldwin. "He receives benefits, he had been paid 10 days earlier, but had no money left. He was hungry so took the food items."

Clarke, 35, of Meadow Close, Witchford, admitted theft. He receives �160 a fortnight in incapacity benefit, lives alone and cares for two dogs.

Addressing the magistrates, Clarke said: "My benefits now go into my girlfriend's account, because I am useless."

He was fined �75 and must pay a �15 surcharge and �50 costs. The fines will be deducted from his benefits.