Hungry thief stole sandwich from Sunderland Wilkinson’s cafe – then got caught while he was munching it

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A HUNGRY shoplifter helped himself to sandwiches from a city centre store.

Colin Cairns took the snack from Wilkinson’s cafe in Sunderland.

He sat down, began eating it and when challenged, the 56-year-old offered £2 towards the £3.25 meal.

Cairns, from Sunderland, was also found to have stolen chocolate from the store in Fawcett Street.

He pleaded guilty to theft at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.

Paul Anderson, prosecuting, said Cairns had a long history of alcohol-related offending.

The court heard he was serving a community order for shoplifting and the latest offence put him in breach of a conditional discharge, made in January last year, after he stole from Greggs.

He had also breached the six-month order in August last year, when he stole wine and food worth £18 from Spa, and was subject to a deferred sentence.

Angus Westgarth, defending, said Cairns was trying to cut down his drinking and was living on £68 a fortnight in benefits.

He said: “There is no sophistication to these thefts and they are very small amounts that would not normally attract a custodial sentence.”

District Judge Helen Cousins revoked the previous community order and imposed a 12-month community order with supervision.

Cairns, of Argyle Square, must also pay £3.25 compensation and will be placed on the Shop Watch scheme for three months.