Store staff took a picture of a prolific shoplifter when police couldn't attend "because of the weather", a court heard.
Drug addict Tracy Lyon later told officers she went thieving in Poundworld, Burnley, as she was hungry.
She said she went in looking for a sandwich, but stole chocolate worth £8 instead. The defendant had owned up when police had gone to her home, the town's magistrates were told.
Lyon, of Barden View, Burnley, admitted theft on January 16th. The 55-year-old was given a 12-month conditional discharge and was told to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
Miss Parveen Akhtar, prosecuting, told the court the chocolate was recovered. Lyons was stopped outside the shop after she was seen putting something in a bag and leaving.
Police were called and the staff took a picture of the defendant and let her go. Officers later got details from Poundworld and went round to the defendant's home and interviewed her.
Mr Mark Williams, defending, said Lyons was now on a methadone prescription. He continued: "That means she is no longer using any illegal drugs to top up. She is now back on track."
The solicitor said the defendant had gone to do some shopping and, she thought, had left her handbag on the bus. He told the hearing: "Her benefits money was in the bag. She went into the store intending to get a sandwich."
Mr Williams said: "Police were contacted and they couldn't attend that day. Police were too busy because of the weather. They then went to see her at her home." He added: "She has a poor record behind her."