THERE’S no such thing as a free lunch.
Nicholas Andrew Wardrop found that out the hard way when he appeared at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court charged with stealing a sandwich.
Wardrop was ordered to pay a total of £88 in compensation and court costs after stealing the £3 sandwich from Sainsbury’s in the Galleries, Washington.
The 47-year-old visited the shop on March 11 and picked up the sandwich, concealing it under a newspaper before going to the shop’s first-floor canteen to sit down and eat it.
The court heard that Wardrop, from Cumbrian Way in Peterlee, Durham, was known to security and was therefore watched in the store.
When attempting to leave without paying he was stopped by security and the police were called.
When asked if he wanted to plead guilty or not guilty to the theft, Wardrop said: “Well it was a genuine mistake but I’m just going to plead guilty to get it over with.”
He was told that he should speak to the court’s duty solicitor to seek advice on how to properly enter his plea before continuing with proceedings.
Wardrop, who opted not to have any legal representation, pleaded guilty on return and was asked if he would like to say anything to magistrates in mitigation.
He said: “I can’t even remember it. It was that long ago, I can hardly remember. I’ve seen the CCTV, though, and I haven’t got a leg to stand on.”
Wardrop, who was in employment at the time of the theft, was then asked if he had enough money on him to pay for the sandwich, to which he replied: “Yes. I’d just been to the Halifax and got £50 out of the cashpoint. I was on my dinner break from work, that’s why I went in.”
He was ordered to pay £3 in compensation to Sainsbury’s and £85 in.