After pleading guilty at the first opportunity, Stephen Halloran from Lawtons asked for a sentence to be passed after the defendant has been drug-free from 10 weeks in custody.


A shoplifter with a chronic drug problem stole £65 worth of steaks from the Co-op in Hatfield because he had no money. The 27-year-old was spotted by a shopper at the store in Bishop’s Rise as he took the meat from the freezer and hid it in his jacket.


The customer raised the alarm and a shop worker followed him from the store, stopping him in a nearby alleyway, St Albans Crown Court heard Wednesday 20th January.


Prosecutor Peter Shaw said the defendant ran off, but was identified and arrested later by the police. He told the police he had no money for food. The defendant appeared in court to be sentenced for theft, committed on 6th August last year, via a video link from Peterborough jail. He had 33 convictions for 84 offences.


Stephen Halloran, defending, said: “In the late Spring and Summer last year he had chronic drug misuse and was committing acquisitive offences to feed his drugs habit.” He said that while in custody he was drug-free and aimed to continue to be so on his release.


Mr Halloran said his client had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity. He had been held on remand for 10 weeks for the theft and asked for a sentence to be passed that would lead to his immediate release.


Judge Stephen Warner agreed and passed a one month sentence, that means he will freed straight away. He will be supervised by probation officers for the next year. The judge told him: “It is your decision what you do. You are only 27. Don’t throw your life away. If you don’t sort yourself out, you know what the likely outcome will be.”


He replied: “Thank you, your honour.”