A career crook, who helped himself to two bottles of Jack Daniels whiskey from Burnley's Tesco, store claimed the security tags had been removed.
Drug addict Michael Dwyer, who has about 200 offences on his record, had not long been out of jail when he took the spirits, but was caught trying to leave the store.
The defendant, who is on employment and support allowance because of depression and arthritis, has been to Inspire, the drugs treatment service, and is currently on methadone, Burnley magistrates heard.
Dwyer, who was said to be unfit for unpaid work or a curfew, admitted theft on Tuesday, August 8th.
The 34-year -old defendant, of Beddington Street, Nelson, was given a 16-month conditional discharge and told to pay a £20 victim surcharge.
The hearing was told Dwyer was sent to prison for 84 days in May. He was caught on Tesco CCTV, selecting the bottles of Jack Daniels and was challenged trying to leave without paying.
Mr Mark Williams, defending, said Dwyer had " an awful record."
The defendant had been desperately trying to find his own accommodation and he had managed to sort out his benefits.
The solicitor said: "He says he was attracted to the two bottles because of the fact the tags had been removed from them.
"That's why he took the opportunity to steal them."
Mr Williams told the court: "He had only been out of custody for a number of weeks at that time.
"He has registered with Inspire and is receiving a regular prescription from them.
"He is in receipt of employment and support allowance, which may well mean he's unfit for unpaid work."
"He can only apologise."