A “DESPERATE” man stole hot food from a supermarket because he was starving, a court heard.

Leigh Peter Stone, 34, of Lorne Street, Chester, admitted taking items worth £7.30 from Sainsbury’s in Neston on February 22 this year.

Prosecuting at Chester Magistrates Court on Friday (May 17), Rob Youds said the defendant was spotted on CCTV and when questioned said: “I just wanted to eat”.

Chris Hunt, defending, said Stone had a history of mental health difficulties and now lives in supported accommodation.

“He took the items to eat immediately,” Mr Hunt said. “It was an offence of desperation.”

Stone, who has 22 previous convictions, was handed a 12-month conditional discharge which means there will be no further action as long as he does not reoffend.

He must also pay £85 court costs and a £20 victim surcharge, as well as £7.30 in compensation to Sainsbury’s.