A DRUG addict with more than 90 previous offences was caught on CCTV after stealing three bed sets from Darlington’s B&M store.

Paul Stephen Hodgson, 45, of Corporation Road, Darlington, pleaded guilty to theft when he appeared before magistrates in Newton Aycliffe.

The court heard he stuffed the bed sheet sets, worth £25 each, into an Asda bag before heading out of the store.

Lorna Rimell, prosecuting, said: "He was caught on CCTV. One of the police officers recognised the defendant.

"He initially denied he was involved but on seeing the CCTV footage he did admit that it was him.

"Mr Hodgson has 35 convictions from 90 offences.

"His last conviction was a shop theft conviction on March 8 this year."

But probation workers said since the offence, Hodgson had been doing well reducing his methadone medication as part of a drug rehabilitation programme and was on the road to recovery, ‘doing his best to get back on the straight and narrow’.

He had not committed any offences for several months, they were told.

However the offence was committed two weeks after he had received a community order for shop theft in March.

He said the offence was committed when his problem was 'at its height'.

Since then he had not been caught for any matters and was engaging well with his probation officers.

He had not missed any appointments and was working with the North East Council on Addictions to reduce the amount of substances he was consuming, magistrates were told.

Magistrates ordered him to pay £75 compensation.