Houghton meat thief had already attacked man outside pub

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A PECKISH pincher must pay compensation to store bosses after pocketing a rib-eye steak.

Colin Anthony Cook, 26, slipped the £5.64 steak into his coat pocket during a shopping trip at the Co-op in Houghton.

Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard the shoplifter, who pleaded guilty to theft, was already subject to a crown court order, after seriously assaulting another man outside the Golden Lion pub in Houghton.

Jeanette Smith, prosecuting, said CCTV showed Cook going into the store at 9.40am on May 6.

After concealing the steak, he picked up some cans of lager and paid for them before leaving.

He was stopped outside and the steak was recovered, but it was not suitable for resale.

Neil Hodgson, defending, said Cook, of Teesdale Avenue, Penshaw, had been temporarily laid off from the decorating job he had held since he was 19 and had split up with his girlfriend.

Mr Hodgson added: “He accepts that he has started to drink too much.

“He effectively took the steak back and admitted it, but the police said they could not give him a caution because he is subject to the crown court order.

“He is claiming benefits, back with his mam and trying to make up to his girlfriend at the current time.

“I was talking to him today, and he had no idea why he committed the offence.”

District Judge Roger Elsey ordered Cook pay £5 compensation and made a contribution towards court costs of £50.

Cook, pleaded guilty to assault at Newcastle Crown Court in February and was given a 12-month prison term, suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to pay £2,000 compensation to his victim.