A HOMELESS man stole a jumper from a town centre store to stay warm, a court heard.

Stephen Wicks, 51, took the £15 jumper from Boyes, in Horsemarket, Darlington, on November 28.

Darlington magistrates heard Wicks, of Varo Terrace, Stockton, rolled the jumper under his clothing before walking out of the store.

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He was seen on CCTV and quickly apprehended by security staff.

David Maddison, prosecuting, said the theft meant Wicks had breached a six-month conditional discharge just days after receiving the order for stealing a bottle of wine.

The court also heard Wicks was the subject of a probation service supervision order for committing similar offences.

Darren Brown, mitigating, said Wicks, who pleaded guilty to theft, was battling alcoholism.

He said Wicks had recently moved out of East View Guest House, in High Northgate, Darlington, and into temporary accommodation to try and turn his life around.

He said: “He was homeless at the time and had been drinking excessively.

“He lives a hectic lifestyle and is very forgetful, but he knows he cannot carry on like this and is willing to enter rehabilitation.”

Magistrates gave Wicks a six-month conditional discharge and ordered him to continue on the supervision order.