A PROLIFIC thief who bundled £90 worth of steak into a bag for life before walking out of a shop has been jailed.

Matthew John Barker appeared at Newton Aycliffe Magistrates' Court yesterday where he pleaded guilty to one charge of theft from a shop.

The incident took place on February 17 this year at The Co-Op in Ferryhill.

Jonathan Hanratty, prosecuting, told the court that the 30-year-old was subject to a suspended prison sentence for a string of previous thefts.

Ben Pegman, for Barker, said the offence was carried out because the defendant was hungry.

He said: "He gets £250 Universal Credit per fortnight and has the usual household costs to pay.

"Drugs have been an issue in the past but on this occasion he stole to feed himself.

"He said he would have sold the rest of the meat to buy staple foods."

David Shallows, chair of the bench, said: "You have a substantial record, with lots of previous thefts, and we have been instructed to take suspended sentences extremely seriously. Therefore we are activating your suspended prison sentence today."

Barker, of Davy Street, Ferryhill, was jailed for 28 days and ordered to pay £90 compensation to The Co-Op.