Ex-drug addict stole £80-worth of gin from Colne Aldi to raise cash for food after his benefits decreased

An ex-heroin addict with a long record went back to thieving - but to raise cash for food, not drugs, a court heard.

Burnley Magistrates Court.
Burnley Magistrates Court.

Nicholas Fallon (37) pinched four bottles of gin, worth almost £80, from Aldi in Colne. He had had his benefits changed from employment and support allowance to universal credit and was getting less money.

Fallon had not been in trouble for 12 months. Mrs Alex Mann, prosecuting, told Burnley magistrates: "It's a shame to see him back here. He has a record that goes back many years."

The hearing was told Fallon was now being prescribed subutex to get him off heroin. Mr Geoff Ireland, defending, told the hearing: "The subutex has helped him and he now says he is drug-free. He certainly looks a lot better than when I last saw him."

The solicitor continued: "He says when he got his universal credit initially, it was a loss less money than ESA. He was short of money. He went and stole four bottles of gin because he needed some food. Since then, his universal credit has been increased. He is receiving the amount he was getting on ESA.

"This is a one-off offence so far as this defendant is concerned," Mr Ireland added.

The magistrates told the defendant: "It's good to hear that people think you have turned your life around. With that in mind, we are going to give you a conditional discharge of 12 months."

Fallon, of Hawley Street in Colne, admitted theft to the value of £79.96 on March 8th. He must pay that amount in compensation.