A MAN who stole a mobile phone that had been accidentally left at a supermarket till has expressed his remorse.

David Bestford, 38, of Staindrop Road, Darlington, pleaded guilty to theft by finding in relation to a Sony Experia mobile phone that he picked up while he was in the queue at the Co-op store in Cockerton.

Darlington Magistrates’ Court heard the owner of the phone put it down while he paid for his groceries and had gone back to his car before he realised he did not have it with him.

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Store CCTV showed Bestford pick up the phone and put it into his pocket, before walking out of the store making no attempt to find out who it belonged to.

Gwen Burnett, mitigating, said the offence was “entirely opportunistic”.

She added: “The phone was there and he acted dishonestly in picking it up. He tells me that he feels ashamed because he was trying to put previous offending behaviour behind him.

“He feels he has let himself down with this matter – it was not pre-planned but his impulse was a dishonest one.”

Bestford was given a 12 month conditional discharge and ordered to pay compensation of £50, costs of £85 and a £15 victim surcharge.