A drug addict who smashed his way into a food store and stole £75 in a charity box had been sleeping in the back yard.
Convicted burglar Carl Payne broke into Durani Food Stores in Colne Road when he had just been released from a nine-month jail term and was on licence.
He was said to have been introduced to hard drugs by an ex’s dealer mum.
The town’s magistrates were told how 41-year-old Payne took cash which was meant for a school in a village in Pakistan. His victims, the Durani family, had previously helped him out by giving him food.
Payne, a former salesman, had gone into the premises between 6-30 and 7am, by damaging an upstairs window.
When he was questioned by the police, the defendant said he knew the owner, the family had been good to him and he had felt desperate.
Mr Andrew Robinson, prosecuting, continued: “He said that was the only way he could see to pay a debt.”
Mr David Lawson, defending, said Payne was very sorry for his actions.
The solicitor went on: “He felt in desperate need of money and accommodation.”
Mr Lawson said the defendant had been introduced to Class A drugs through a former girlfriend’s mother, who was a dealer.
The solicitor added Payne, who apologised for his actions, had self- referred himself to Inspire.
The defendant, of Sharp Street, Burnley, admitted burglary on November 27th.
He was given a six-month community order, with a six-month drugs programme and was fined £30. He was ordered to pay £100 compensation.