A DRUNK snatched a bottle of spirits from a pub bar then ran off with it.
Stephen Kirtley took a swig from the bottle of sambuca, which was on the bar at the Bird Inn in Washington.
He made off when staff spotted him, still holding the bottle and a pint of lager, which he had paid for.
The 20-year-old pleaded guilty to theft of the £14 Italian liqueur on August 6 at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.
Sarah Guest, prosecuting, said a bar worker saw Kirtley, from Washington, pick up the bottle.
He was told to put it back, but turned to his friend and said: “Quick, run” and the pair fled out of the pub and down Spout Lane.
When Kirtley was arrested, he said he had been out drinking since 6pm and had not intended to steal the sambuca.
The court heard he had a number of convictions for dishonesty and had been given an 18-month community order on July 22.
Sandra Fife, defending, said: “He went to take a swig from the bottle and was seen doing that and when challenged, made off with the bottle.
“Had he not been seen, he probably would have taken a swig and put it back down.
“I’m not saying that is right.”
She said unemployed Kirtley, of North Avenue in Usworth, had a job interview two days after the court hearing and hoped that finding work would cut down his drinking.
Magistrates imposed a 12-month conditional discharge.