"Desperate" former drug-user blames absent benefits for lamb theft

Lee Barry Rothwell(41)struck at Crawshaws in Burnley.

Lee Barry Rothwell(41)struck at Crawshaws in Burnley.

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A "desperate" shoplifter who pilfered two legs of lamb from a butchers shop in Burnley town centre told a court that his theft was driven by need after his benefits had not been paid into his account.

Lee Barry Rothwell (41) struck at Crawshaws in the Charter Walk Shopping Centre off St James's Street, making off with two legs of lamb before being detained after a short chase when customers alerted the staff, magistrates heard.

Rothwell, who has a long record due to drugs misuse, was now getting treatment from Inspire and was on the blocker subutex. The defendant, of Claughton Street in Burnley, admitted theft to the tune of £36 on March, 4th and was fined £40 and must pay a £30 victim surcharge.

Mr Mark Williams, defending, said drugs had been a problem for the defendant for many years, but he had been providing clean samples and was "going in the right direction."

The defendant had been desperate for money as his benefits had not gone into his account, with Mr Williams adding: "It (the offence) was borne out of that rather than drugs misuse. He's back on track again now."