A SHOPLIFTER fished out of the meat aisle in Sainsbury’s just hours after leaving court for a similar crime was labelled a “complete bl***y idiot” by a Swindon magistrate.

Julian Smith was released from Swindon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday in connection with three thefts.

Within a couple of hours he was back in custody after being caught in the Brunel shopping centre Sainsbury’s trying to steal more than £50-worth of meat together with another two men.

18 hours later he was in the dock, where he pleaded guilty to shoplifting.

An unimpressed Martin Clarke, chairman of the Swindon bench, told Smith: “You are a complete bloody idiot.

“You’ve gone out and what have you done to this court? You’ve basically put two fingers up.”

The justices heard Smith was given conditional bail on Thursday. Pauline Lambert, prosecuting, said: “It’s 5.30pm. Wiltshire Police is contacted by Sainsbury’s in the Brunel to say they had detained a male who had gone into the store with two other men.

“He is seen with the other men in the meat aisle. He is seen to have a backpack on his back, with the other male loading up meat into his bag.”

The group was challenged as they left the store. While the other men ran off, heavily-laden Smith was caught by security guards. The store detectives found the stolen meat in the bag.

Smith, 36, of Pound Close, Lyneham, pleaded guilty to shoplifting.

Andrew Watts-Jones, defending, said his client had fallen into the company of some street drinkers after leaving court on Thursday.

Smith was intoxicated and had foolishly been persuaded by the others to help them steal items from Sainsbury’s.

“He recognises he was a complete a**e when he left here,” Mr Watts-Jones said.

“I hoped he would have had the brains [that] had he not got drunk with the street drinkers he would not have gone in there to nick.”

Smith had recently suffered a family bereavement that had "knocked the whole family sideways". He also acted as a carer to his mum.

Adjourning sentencing to December 16 to tie up with other matters, magistrates ordered Smith to stay out of trouble.

“I promise you I will. I’ll go home and look after my mum,” he replied.

In a last warning, Mr Clarke sent a final shot across Smith’s bows: “You step over the line and you’re inside.

“I’m telling you now, Mr Smith. You mess up just once and your feet won’t touch the ground.”