A 30-year-old Ammanford dad who turned his back on a life of crime has been placed under a nine-month community order after he pleaded guilty to a spate of shoplifting offences.

Christopher Williams, of Flat C at 21 Wind Street, appeared before Llanelli magistrates to admit two separate offences of stealing alcohol from the Ammanford branch on Co-op on June 6 and a third offence on June 10.

Gerald Neave, prosecuting, told the court how shop staff monitoring in-store CCTV footage spotted Williams pocketing a can of Strongbow cider and leaving the store without paying at 4.50pm.

A review of the day’s footage showed Williams stealing another can of cider at 3pm.

Williams was arrested and interviewed later that day.

He told officers: “I put my hands up to that.

“I went to the shop, but had no money. I picked up two cans of ‘Bow and I put them in my pocket.”

Williams claimed he could not remember stealing the can earlier in the day, but accepted he had.

The court heard how four days later Williams returned to the store and stole a box of lager.

Defence solicitor Steve Lloyd said Williams had transformed his life over recent years but still found himself battling an alcohol problem.

“It is a long time since we have seen him here in court,” said Mr Lloyd.

“This was someone who was in continual trouble with the police and who had only short periods on the outside before returning to custody.”

The court was told how Williams had last been jailed in 2005 when he was sentenced to 18 months behind bars, but since then he had turned over a new leaf.

“Since 2006 he has not been before this court,” said Mr Lloyd.

“Up until now there has been a marvellous transformation in his behaviour.

“However there is an issue with alcohol and it is an underlying problem.

“Recently he sank back into using alcohol very heavily.”

Mr Lloyd said Williams had turned back to booze after issues relating to contact with his children had left him depressed.

“He drank,” said Mr Lloyd.

“There were times when he did not have money to buy alcohol so he started stealing it.”

Mr Lloyd told the court that since the issues relating to his children had been resolved, Williams had regained his focus.

“He is much, much better now in terms of his consumption,” the court was told.

“He now has his wits about him and he is back on track.”

Magistrates told Williams: “We consider these offences serious enough due to your antecedents to make a community order.”

Williams was sentenced to a nine-month order with a requirement to attend six sessions of an alcohol activity course.

He was also ordered to pay £3.50 compensation to Co-op, £85 court costs and a £60 legal surcharge.

Williams apologised to magistrates for his actions.