A THIEF started his Christmas shopping early after stealing five frozen turkeys.
Thomas Green walked out of Iceland in Sunderland with the birds, shortly after 2pm on November 6, weeks after being released from prison for a second time.
But he dropped the turkeys – worth £15 each – and ran off when a shop worker gave chase.
It was one of a string of offences, which Green pleaded guilty to at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.
Prosecutor Glenda Beck told the court that the 36-year-old, of from Tatham Street, Sunderland, was identified from CCTV by police the following day.
When he was arrested and taken to Gillbridge police station, he tried to swallow a small piece of cannabis wrapped in foil.
The court heard that Green also stole five joints of meat worth £75 from Asda on October 10, riding off on his cycle.
Again, the hapless thief was spotted on CCTV, Mrs Beck said.
Green struck again on October 30, loading up a Sports Direct bag up with 10 boxes of perfume and aftershave from TK Maxx in Sunderland.
He tried to ride off on his bike, after being spotted by police, but was caught and arrested.
Habitual offender Green was released from prison on licence in April, then imprisoned again in June and re-released on October 12.
He was due to be recalled to prison after his latest spate of offending.
Defending, Angus Westgarth said: “I could mitigate at length, but it would be helpful if you read the Probation Service report.
“The choices are pretty stark.”
He said that Green had problems with alcohol and drugs from a young age and had been released from prison with just £37.
“That is all he has had in the last six or seven weeks,” Mr Westgarth added. “So he has returned to old habits as a means to live.”
“It is just an awful cycle to be in, and you can break it today by saying you have an immediate custodial sentence, which won’t solve the problem in the long term, but will in the short term.”
Magistrates ordered Green to serve 24 weeks in prison, to run concurrent to his original sentence.