Betws heroin addict stole food to fund kicking his habit
4:00pm Thursday 25th October 2012 in News
A 37-YEAR-OLD Betws heroin addict has told magistrates he stole food to help fund his efforts to rid himself of the drug.
Damien Hughes, of 60 Treforis, was confronted by an undercover store detective at Ammanford’s Tesco after he walked out of the shop carrying a pork joint, a precooked chicken and a bag of sweets.
Hughes had made no attempt to pay for any of the items.
Ellie Morgan, prosecuting, told Llanelli court howmembers of staff spotted Hughes “acting suspiciously”
in the store.
They alerted the detective who followed Hughes outside and asked to see a receipt for the goods – valued at £16.14p.
When he was unable to provide any proof of purchase, police were called. In interview, Hughes admitted he had gone to the shop with the intention to steal.
John Tarrant, for Hughes, told the court his client had planned to shoplift the food and sell it on to raise money which he could use to buy methadone – a heroin substitute prescribed to users to help them off the Class A drug.
“He does have a heroin problem and has tried various avenues to try to get help for his problem,” saidMr Tarrant.
“These items were not stolen to raise money to go out and get a bag of heroin, but to help him deal with his drug problem.”
Mr Tarrant explained how Hughes had also had a long-term alcohol problem, but has successfully taken part in a “de-tox programme”.
“He has now tackled his drink problem and is trying to deal with the residual drug problem,” said Mr Tarrant.
Hughes pleaded guilty to theft.
Magistrates agreed to grant Hughes a 12-month conditional discharge.
“Keep out of trouble for a year and you will hear no more about this,” they told him.
They also decided not to impose an order for any costs due to Hughes’ limited means and the amount he currently owed the court in outstanding fines.