Thief so drunk he couldn’t remember stealing ashtrays from Sunderland coffee shop

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A DRUNKEN thief battling addiction stole two ashtrays from a coffee shop.

John Stevens, from Sunderland, couldn’t remember taking the ashtrays from Caffe Nero in the Bridges shopping centre.

The 42-year-old thief was spotted by a police officer and captured on CCTV.

Stevens, of Hylton Road, pleaded guilty to theft at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.

Sarah Guest, prosecuting, told Sunderland Magistrates’ Court that the police officer alerted a coffee shop worker at 3.40pm on June 17.

She said: “The ashtrays were identified by a member of staff as coming from Caffe Nero and returned to the cafe.

“Mr Steven had been drinking all day and he could not remember what he had been doing.

“He confirmed it was him on CCTV, which showed him putting the ashtrays in a bag and leaving the area.

“He has a lengthy record, most relevantly and recently, he was conditionally discharged in March for a matter of shop theft.”

Ian Cassidy, defending, said Stevens accepted what he had done immediately.

The court heard Stevens, a cocaine user, was addressing his use of the Class A drug and cutting down on his drinking.

Magistrates ordered him to pay a £70 fine, £85 court costs and £20 victim surcharge.