A "desperate" television thief tried to hide when police saw him carrying a large box in the street, a court heard.
Father-of-two Paul Denwood (27) had stolen the Sharp 40-inch set worth £249.99 from Burnley Tesco, but claimed he had bought it off a mate for £100 a few days earlier.
The town's magistrates were told Denwood, who has 37 previous offences on his record, had been caught on the store's CCTV and then owned up when questioned.
The defendant was subject to a suspended jail term at the time and could have ended up behind bars. He was spared by the Bench, who told him he had come very close to custody and warned he would "have the book thrown at him," if he struck again.
Mrs Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said: "In interview, the defendant fully admitted he was currently living in a homeless shelter and needed the money. He said he put the TV in the trolley and removed the security tag and intended to sell it to anybody who would buy it from him."
Denwood had been given nine weeks in prison, suspended for two years for aggravated vehicle taking and other offences last June and had breached the order.
Keith Rennison, defending, said Denwood had been receiving employment and support allowance but had been moved to universal credit by the government. That had left him without benefits for six weeks.
The solicitor continued: "He was desperate. He has nobody else to help and assist him. He accepts he is in a very precarious position because of the suspended sentence order. "
A probation officer told the hearing the defendant was making positive steps and activating the suspended sentence would have a negative impact on the progress he had made so far.
Denwood, of Elizabeth Street, Burnley, admitted theft on May 10th. He was sentenced to a four week curfew, between 7pm and 7am, seven days a week and must pay an £85 victim surcharge.