A shoplifter with a taste for red wine ended up paying through the nose when a £19 theft cost him £255.
Ronald Oxberry, 44, pinched four bottles of the beverage from the Co-op store in Shiney Row on April 25, Sunderland magistrates heard.
Prosecutor Lee Poppett said Oxberry was seen placing the items into a bag and leaving without paying. He was identified from CCTV footage.
When police arrested him he had drunk one bottle of wine, but the remaining three were recovered.
Oxberry, of Swaledale, Shiney Row, admitted theft.
Jason Smith, defending, said: “He is a recovering alcoholic. He fell off the wagon quite dramatically. He is now back on the wagon for want of a better expression.”
Oxberry was given a conditional discharge for a year, with £85 prosecution costs, £150 criminal court charge, £15 surcharge and £4.75 compensation.