A MEAT thief has been jailed for his months-long crime spree across North Yorkshire.

By the time Vincent McCormick was finally caught he had committed 18 raids in which he stole items worth several hundred pounds.

Most of his thefts were of meat, from Co-op stores in in York, Easingwold, Bishopthorpe, Copmanthorpe and Northallerton. He also raided the Sainsbury's store in Newbiggin, Malton, three times in a week, and also struck at Tesco's Goole store and Lidl's store in Thanet Road, Dringhouses.

In 14 of the raids, he took meat and in seven he took whisky or hard spirits. In three of the raids he took both meat and alcohol, York magistrates heard.

His solicitor Chris McGrogan said McCormick believed he may suffer from kleptomania. He is also a drug addict, who had had problems getting benefits.

McCormick, 32, of Lydham Court, Foxwood, pleaded guilty to 18 thefts. The first was the theft of a bottle of Jack Daniels from the Tadcaster Road Co-op in York, on November 20, 2014, the rest were committed between February 28 and June 9, when the last of the three Malton raids took place.

He was jailed for 16 weeks and ordered to pay £180 court costs and an £80 statutory surcharge.

Kathryn Reeve, prosecuting, said McCormick was stopped by store staff outside Lidl in February and the stolen goods recovered towards the start of the crime spree, but he got away with more than £800 of meat and alcohol from the other raids.

He was repeatedly caught on CCTV and was spotted by staff checking the film after a stock check revealed his thefts.

Mr McGrogan said McCormick had sought help from his GP regarding his possible kleptomania but was unable to fund a recommended course.

He had been on employment support allowance benefits at the time of the thefts, but on at least two occasions, they had been stopped because he hadn't supplied medical notes to the benefit officers in time. He had had no income from between four to six weeks each time until he had got the benefit reinstated. He had now transferred to Jobseekers Allowance.

He was getting help from a drug rehabilitation charity and was on a methadone prescription but was slipping back into taking drugs.

McCormick disputed the value put on some of the stolen items, particularly from the Sainsbury's store.