A MAN convicted of stealing seven watches to raise money for food was sentenced by magistrates today (Monday, March 31).

John George Kinsella, of Bessemer Street, Ferryhill, stole the watches, which are worth £10 each, from the Original Factory Shop in Spennymoor on Saturday, March 29.

The 44-year-old pleaded guilty to theft at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court, despite claiming he only took three watches.

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Lynne Roberts-Plowman, prosecuting, said two of the watches were recovered when the manager challenged Kinsella but a stock check revealed a further five were missing.

The court heard that Kinsella had recently been released from prison after being sentenced to 22 weeks in custody for burglary.

Andy Clinton, mitigating, said the offence had been born out of desperation.

“The problem he has is that he is released from prison but has no money, as it takes so long for his benefits claim to be resolved,” said Mr Clinton.

“He then ends of committing offences like this to get some money simply to survive.”

Magistrates sentenced Kinsella to 12 weeks in custody but suspended the term for 12 months. He was also ordered to pay £50 compensation.