A thirsty thief has been hit with a fine after swiping drinks from a Sunderland shop while the store’s owner was having his lunch.
Dominic Mark Wild, 44, walked away with a slab of 24 Coca Cola cans from DD’s Store in Blandford Street in the city centre on October 18.
The owner of the shop managed to chase Wild and rugby-tackle him to the ground.
Police were called following the incident and Wild was charged with theft, which he later admitted.
Prosecutor Iain Jordan told a hearing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court: “The owner of the shop was outside having his lunch when a male picked up a crate of Coca Cola and walked away with it.
“The owner approached the male and said ‘have you paid for that?’ to which he said ‘******* no’.
“There was a struggle and police attended a short time later.
“The Coca Cola is valued at £12.
“Mr Wild was interviewed under caution and the defendant agreed that he walked out with it.”
The cans were later recovered.
Mr Jordan added that Wild, of Derby Street, Ashbrooke, has 23 previous convictions for 40 offences.
Sandra Fife, mitigating, said: “My client had been drinking with a friend.
“His friend has taken it upon himself to pick up the Cola pack and give it to my client, and, in drink, he walked away with it.
“Police were brought to the scene, saying that there was a fight between two men.
“He says he was rugby-tackled to the ground.” Ms Fife added: “He has not been in trouble for quite some time and he has an appointment today to claim Universal Credit.”
District Judge Roger Elsey ordered Wild to pay a fine of £50 as well as a surcharge of £30 and £50 costs.
“I give you credit for your plea of guilty at the first opportunity,” said Mr Elsey.
“I also bear in mind that you have kept out of trouble for some time and you are on benefits.”