A THIEF stole five mobile phones worth almost £2,000 from a supermarket.
Stephen Revell, from Glebe in Washington, snatched the phones from Asda in the town.
He was caught on CCTV climbing over a counter and taking the mobiles, worth £1,979, from a display cabinet.
Revell, 34, pleaded guilty to the theft at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.
Keith Laidlaw, prosecuting, said Revell was chased by police and dropped the phones, which he intended to sell to pay off debts. Gavin Sword, defending, said Revell, of Thornton Court, turned to theft after his benefits were stopped.
He said: “He was sanctioned by the benefits agency because he was four minutes late attending an appointment.
“The reason he was four minutes late is he was at a medical appointment, having injections in his spine.
“The surgeon did not want him to go, but he went. He got there a bit late and the benefits agency was not having any of that, so they stopped his benefits.
“He still has outgoings and lives with his girlfriend.”
Mr Sword added that Revell was a “habitual burglar”, but took the phones instead of committing a burglary.
He had passed an assessment to work with Nissan, but was then turned down because of his criminal record.
District Judge Helen Cousins imposed a 12-month community order with supervision.
Revell must also pay £750 compensation to Asda.