Tiverton man stole joints of beef from M&S store
A BEEF thief has been ordered to pay Marks & Spencer £98 in compensation for the meat he stole from the chain's Tiverton shop.
Skint Jared Woodhouse took four joints from the Phoenix Lane store in the hope he could sell it on to pay for electricity and dog food.
Former sous-chef Woodhouse, 26, of Barrington Street, Tiverton, was caught shoplifting with a friend by the store's CCTV cameras, Exeter magistrates were told.
Dressed in grey trousers, trainers, a checked shirt and gilet, Woodhouse was visibly ashamed of his actions and told the bench: "Basically, I lost my job. I ran out of electricity and food and I have a dog as well, so no dog food, and that's why I needed the money.
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"My family don't live locally but I could probably call on them for a bit of support, but I didn't have any mobile phone credit at the time to call or text. I've made a stupid mistake," he added.
Woodhouse pleaded guilty to theft from M&S on Februrary 4. He stole four joints of beef, valued at £98, at around 3.30pm on February 4, .
The court heard that he had been in court once before for an offence he committed in Oxford in April, 2006, and that he moved to Devon to find work.
Woodhouse said he lived by himself, had applied for job seekers' allowance and was keen to find employment after he lost his job as a sous-chef at Padbrook Park, where he worked four two years.
The court heard he aimed to sell the meat to drinkers at a pub in Tiverton. This is when police were believed to have been alerted.
He was given a conditional discharge, and ordered to pay back the value of meat stolen.
Jane Collins, chairman of the bench, said: "Taking your word, you accept this was a stupid thing to do and you have a bit of previous but that was a long time ago.
"We are going to punish you at the lower end of the range and give you a conditional discharge for six months, and that means as long as you don't come before the court for any other reason, we will hear no more about this.
"If you come back you will be sentenced for this and any other offence and we do think Marks & Spencer deserves to be paid back for what you stole."