A MAN who had not eaten for days broke into a cafe in search of food and cash, a court heard.

Christopher Lee Corrie smashed a window to gain entry to Alfie’s Cafe at West Row, Darlington, and attempted to force open the till during the early hours of Monday, January 13.

He also tried to steal cameras, photography equipment and chocolate bars worth around £200 from an attached building belonging to Darlington Borough Council.

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Vickie Wilson, prosecuting at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court yesterday (Tuesday, January 14), said police had been tracking Corrie, of Greenbank Road, Darlington, on CCTV that night and caught him in the act.

The 38-year-old pleaded guilty to two charges of burglary and also admitted breaching a community order by failing to carry out unpaid work on November 25 and December 17.

Callum Terry, mitigating, said Corrie’s benefits had been stopped, meaning he had no money for food or electricity.

“He had not eaten for days,” said Mr Terry. “The offences were born out of desperation. Very little forethought went into it, very little damage was caused and all the items taken were recovered.”

Corrie was sentenced to a total of 12 weeks for the offences but magistrates suspended the prison term for two years.

He was also ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge.