A THIEF who stole a pedicure kit and a baby thermometer in order to feed himself has been spared jail.

Neil McCormack, of Silkin Way, Newton Aycliffe, appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court for three charges of theft yesterday.

The 40-year-old pleaded guilty to stealing a pedicure set worth £34.99 and a baby thermometer worth £55 from Peaseway Medical Centre on November 28 and December 4 respectively.

The court heard that he also stole two aftershave sets worth £40 from The Original Factory Shop on November 30.

McCormack has 29 previous convictions for 55 offences, 43 of which are theft related.

Emma Cruickshank, prosecuting, said on all three occasions the defendant entered the premises, selected items and concealed them before leaving the building.

Stephanie Thompson, mitigating, said: "He tells me that he is struggling to survive on universal credit.

"He has had no gas or electric for a number of weeks now so he has stolen items to feed himself.

"The driving force behind his offending has been his heroin addiction but he tells me he has been clean for two years and he is absolutely adamant he has not relapsed.

"This offence is not linked to his drug use."

McCormack was given a 12 month community order and ordered to pay £128.99 compensation.