Man stole meat to feed family

PUBLISHED: 14:27 06 July 2006 | UPDATED: 11:50 04 May 2010

DESPERATE Portuguese father Joao Laureano stole a joint of meat to feed his family who are surviving on £127 a week, magistrates were told. His job seeker s allowance had been cut to £13 a fortnight, and his partner was adding to the family income with si

DESPERATE Portuguese father Joao Laureano stole a joint of meat to feed his family who are surviving on £127 a week, magistrates were told.

His job seeker's allowance had been cut to £13 a fortnight, and his partner was adding to the family income with sick pay and child benefit.

"Things have been extremely tight," solicitor Jacqui Baldwin told Ely magistrates. "He stole the meat for his family, not to sell on."

Laureano, 26, of Wood Fen Road, Littleport, admitted stealing a £10 joint of lamb from the Co-op in Littleport on June 24.

Prosecuting, Matthew Bradbury said Laureano was spotted placing the lamb joint into a plastic shopping bag, and then walked out of the store. The duty manager was alerted, and CCTV footage was passed to the police. A member of staff knew where Laureano lived, and he was visited by police.

"He took the joint of meat for himself and his family," said Miss Baldwin, "his family is in a very difficult financial position at this time."

Laureano, who has been in the UK for two years, was actively seeking work, she said, but had found it difficult to secure employment. His partner was suffering from depression.

"He has had the shame of coming to court and spending time in police cells," she added.

Giving Laureano a 12-month conditional discharge and ordering him to pay £10 compensation, presiding magistrate Janet South told him: "When you are in our country you have to abide by our laws, or you are going to get into serious trouble.

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