STEALING hundreds of pounds worth of meat has cost a former drug addict more than £200 at court.

Gareth Buckton, of Barden Moor Road, Darlington, stole meat worth £187 from the Co-op store, in Cockerton on January 9, together with his accomplice, Denis Dunn.

Darlington Magistrates’ Court heard the pair were caught on CCTV putting meat into a carrier bag before leaving the store without paying.

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Rachael Dodsworth prosecuting said: “Both were selective in choosing what they were taking but their actions were said to be in no way discreet.”

The duo also used the same tactics to steal £40 worth of meat from Asda on January 11, and chicken worth £53 from Sainsbury’s on January 17.

Buckton, 32, admitted three charges of theft when he appeared at court today (Tuesday, January 28) and asked for two more shoplifting offences to be taken into consideration.

In mitigation, Jane Scott said Buckton had stayed off drugs and kept out of trouble for a number of years, but had recently got in with the wrong crowd.

Hilary Payne, of the Probation Service said: “It is just really a blip, hopefully we can point him in the right direction.”

Magistrates sentenced Buckton to a four-month community order, with four months of supervision.

He was also ordered to pay £200 compensation to the supermarkets, as well as a £60 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

His accomplice, Dunn, was sentenced to a financial penalty at an earlier court hearing.