A man who is already thousands of pounds in debt to the court has had his bill increased.

Martin Burrows, 45, of Kirkstall Close, Swindon, stole biscuits, meat and other groceries from Tesco Express in Toothill on May 17 and 22.

Burrows, who already has 48 thefts to his name and had been recently released from prison, pleaded guilty to two thefts at Swindon Magistrates Court on July 3 and was sentenced.

Mr Adam Cooper, prosecuting explained: “He has gone shopping: two lamb steaks, two rump steaks, two chicken breasts, biscuits, ice cream, some yoghurt.

“The issue is he doesn’t pay for any of it. He walks straight past the exit with no attempt to pay.”

He was identified from CCTV. Burrows has 15 convictions for 53 offences and has served a number of prison sentences for theft. 

Mr Cooper estimated that these latest thefts must have happened days after release from a shortened 12-week prison sentence given on April 25.

In this theft, Burrows stole hundreds of pounds of perfume from TK Maxx to fund a drug addiction.

The thefts happened days after one another. He then warned his defence that he would probably go out to offend again after his sentencing.

Ms Caroline Dunne, representing Burrows, said: “He is a man who desperately needs help. He has no accommodation or money. 

“He is now very motivated; his life is in a spiral and he wants to maintain engagement with CGL.”

CGL, or Change Grow Live, is a national health and social care charity which helps people with drug, housing and health issues.

Ms Dunne said the time served in prison, around two weeks, was not enough for Burrows to deal with the issues he was facing.

A representation of the probation service explained that Burrows had been attending appointments and had upcoming meetings.

He was given a 12-month community order and must pay £57.87 in compensation, but no costs were imposed due to lack of means.

He must complete 20 rehabilitation days under the guidance of CGL and probation and provide samples for six months.

The magistrate said: “Now you need to apply yourself to this opportunity, because it is an opportunity as well as a punishment.

“You have really got to work hard at this to make it work. I trust you will make the most of it.”