STEALING a prawn sandwich worth £2.50 proved costly for a serial shoplifter.

Diane Michelle Kean concealed the sandwich and a bottle of wine at Sainsbury’s Local store in Gilesgate, Durham, on April 16.

Durham Crown Court heard she was confronted by staff and handed back the bottle of wine.

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Police were called and when they detained her outside the Sunderland Road premises she still had the sandwich.

The court heard that earlier that day she was fined at court for a previous offence, while still subject to a suspended 40-week prison sentence imposed by magistrates for five earlier shop theft charges, last November.

Kean, 36, of Churchill Square, Gilesgate, Durham, admitted theft of the sandwich, at a hearing at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court, on May 6.

She was jailed for 31 weeks, 25 of which were activated from the suspended sentence, with six weeks added for the sandwich theft.

Appealing against that sentence at the crown court today (May 21), her counsel, Andrew Foster, said: “She has a long and varied history, but this is the first time she has felt the need or desire to contest a sentence.

“Having received the suspended sentence last November everything was going fine and she had completed an alcohol treatment programme, while the lower court heard that she had withdrawn immediately from methadone shortly before that.

“Due to her state of mind, however, while living at a hostel in Durham, she had a relapse in April, but she now wants to resume working with the Probation Service to see what options are available to her.”

But Judge Simon Hickey, sitting with two magistrates, dismissed the appeal, saying the “appropriate” sentence was passed by the magistrates in jailing Kean.