A HOMELESS man has admitted stealing four yoghurts from a Chester city centre store because he was hungry.

Martin Williams, 43, pleaded guilty at Chester Magistrates Court on Tuesday, July 10 to stealing the yoghurts from Sainsbury's on Watergate Street on June 18.

Magistrates fined him £50 for the offence.

Prosecuting, Rachel Chandler said it was at 11.50am when Williams entered Sainsbury's and put four yoghurts, collectively valued at £3.60, into his trousers.

Williams left the store and went up the stairs on the opposite side of the street on to the Rows.

A CCTV operator asked him to stop but he did not.

He was subsequently arrested for theft, but the yoghurts were never recovered.

In custody, Williams – who had 13 convictions for 20 offences – admitted the theft to police officers, saying he was hungry and had no money.

Defending, Howard Jones said it was not the most sophisticated of thefts.

Williams had been homeless for three months and was on benefits, and was hopeful of resolving his housing issue.

Mr Jones added: "He stole the yoghurts because he was hungry – the offence is purely because of the situation he has found himself in."

Williams had failed to appear in court on a previous day, putting him in breach of a conditional discharge, but that was because he had lost the charge sheet and he had lost track of the days, Mr Jones said.

As well as the £50 fine, Williams must pay a £30 victim surcharge and £3.60 compensation to Sainsbury's. His conditional discharge will continue to run, with no separate penalty for failing to turn up to court.

After magistrates said they hoped Williams could get himself sorted out, Williams replied: "I hope so, love."

"I am not your love," the magistrate replied.