A MAN tried to steal a £60 pair of trousers by putting them on underneath his own clothes in the changing room of a store at Cheshire Oaks.

Brian Elliott, 39, told magistrates in Chester that he had made the “stupid decision” as he really wanted the Jack Wolfskin trousers but couldn’t quite afford them.

He was handed a conditional discharge meaning he will not be punished for the crime as long as he stays out of trouble for 12 months.

Rob Youds, prosecuting, said Elliott had been spotted taking two pairs of trousers into a changing cubicle at the store on August 17 this year.

But when he emerged he only had one pair, which he put back on display before swiftly leaving the shop.

“He had put the trousers on underneath his own,” Mr Youds said.

The defendant, who lives on Devonshire Road in Oxton, Prenton, Merseyside, was soon apprehended and later pleaded guilty to theft.

Defending himself, Elliott, who receives £102 a week in benefits, said: “I was struggling with my dole and budget and my finances. I needed some clothes and made a stupid decision.”

He added: “I came over [to Cheshire Oaks] with the intention of buying clothes. I’ve seen these trousers and really liked them but I didn’t have quite enough to buy them and I made a stupid decision.”

Elliott was not ordered to pay court costs but must pay a £21 victim surcharge – a cost that all defendants must pay to help fund victim support services nationwide.

The money will be added to the £2,056 that he already owes the courts in relation to previous offences.

He does not have to pay any compensation as the trousers were recovered and deemed fit to be sold.