Two men leaned into a broken toy shop window and helped themselves to goods worth more than £100, a court heard.
Ex-con Mark Jackson and his accomplice were sitting on the ground outside The Entertainer in Charter Walk Shopping Centre in Burnley, surrounded by their haul, when police arrived, the town's magistrates were told.
They had come across the damaged window at about 10.30pm, when the town centre was being monitored by CCTV.
Mr Nick Cassidy, defending Jackson, a former drug addict, said when he was released from custody last year, he was almost immediately recalled as he had nowhere to live. He was freed last November and since that time he had been, in the main, homeless. His care of address was with an elderly aunt.
The solicitor continued: "He is a defendant who survives day to day. He was able to tackle his long addiction to drugs in prison."
Mr Cassidy went on: "He has a record he certainly shouldn't be proud of. His intention with the toys was to obtain money to support himself with food.
The defendant, care of Reed Street in Burnley, admitted burglary and stealing items worth £109 on April 29. He will be sentenced by Blackburn magistrates on June 25.