Sunderland shoplifter stole televisions to fund cocaine habit

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A FORMER drug addict helped himself to four TVs from a supermarket, a court heard.

Merrick Ainslie walked out of Asda, in Leechmere, with a TV worth £100 on November 10 last year. Two hours later, he strolled out of the store with a second TV.

The thefts were captured on CCTV and Ainslie was arrested but denied being responsible.

On December 14, two more TVs were stolen from the supermarket and he was identified again.

Ainslie, 27, of Offerton Street, Millfield, denied being the shoplifter. He said he had four brothers that might have been mistaken for him, but pleaded guilty to three offences of theft at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.

Bill Scanlan, defending, said the crimes were due to an “unfortunate lapse” into using drugs. He said: “Mr Ainslie had a very serious heroin problem for many years and has just put in a year of clean tests.

“He is hoping to be clear of all heroin substitutes by September.”

He said Ainslie stole the TVs after he began using cocaine again, after splitting from his long-term girlfriend and mother of his child.

Magistrates adjourned the case for pre-sentence reports.