Desperate Derbyshire shoplifter was so hungry he stole cheese from a Co-op supermarket

Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A desperate thief claimed he had no money and was so hungry that he stole two boxes of cheese from a supermarket.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on August 19 how Luke Battelle, 39, of Stringer Drive, Somercotes, stole the cheese from a Co-op, at Somercotes, on July 27.

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said: “The facts speak for themselves. He was seen on CCTV to take the goods and they weren’t recovered.”

Jobless Battelle, who has previous convictions and is dependent on benefits, pleaded guilty to the theft.

Defence solicitor Tim Smith said: “This is a low level shop theft and it is not drug-related. There was a drugs history but he is on a methadone prescription.

“His money, which is Employment Support Allowance, was stopped in July and he was hungry and starving and stole the cheese to eat.”

Mr Smith added that Battelle was arrested on August 18 and he spent the night in custody prior to his court appearance on August 19.

District Judge Andrew Davison told Battelle: “You have spent the best part of today in custody and I hope your explanation is truthful and that this cheese was stolen to eat instead of stealing goods to sell on.”

Batelle was sentenced to a 12 month conditional discharge but was warned that if he commits another offence in the next year he will be re-sentenced for the theft and any new offence.

He was also ordered to pay a £21 victim surcharge, £85 costs and £11 compensation.