A prolific shoplifter has been locked up after going on his latest spree just days after he was given a suspended prison sentence.

Regan Bell hit three different shops in a matter of weeks stealing steak, cleaning products, chicken, and cheese, after pretending to pay for them in the self-serve section.

The 19-year-old was given a 20-week suspended sentence in November for a catalogue of other shoplifting offences, Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court heard.

Paige Sparks, prosecuting, said the teenager targeted the Morrisons supermarket on North Road, Darlington, where he filled a shopping bag full of goods while pretending to use the scanner before walking out.

The Northern Echo: Morrisons, North Road, DarlingtonMorrisons, North Road, Darlington (Image: Google)

Magistrates heard how he turned his attentions to the Tesco supermarket in Newton Aycliffe when he stole goods on January 12 and 16 using the same technique.

Miss Sparks said his final offence took place January 30 when he entered Sainsbury's Local on Duke Street, Darlington, and again stole goods from the shelves.

The Northern Echo: Sainsbury's Local, Duke Street, DarlingtonSainsbury's Local, Duke Street, Darlington (Image: Google)

The court heard how the teenager was given his suspended sentence on November 20 last year.

Bell, of no fixed abode but formerly of Newton Aycliffe, pleaded guilty to the four shoplifting offences which put him in breach of the suspended sentence.

The Northern Echo: Tesco in Newton AycliffeTesco in Newton Aycliffe (Image: Google)

Ben Pegman, mitigating, said his client was a vulnerable young man who is in the process of being diagnosed with autism and ADHD and had been made homeless due to his repeat offending.

He added: “When I asked him how well he would cope with custody, he lowered his head and said ‘not at all’.

See more court stories from The Northern Echo by clicking here

Get all the latest crime and court updates, for less than the price of a coffee, with a Premium Plus digital subscription to The Northern Echo. Click here

“His mother has lost patience with him and he now finds himself homeless.”

Alan Adams, the chairman of the bench, activated the entire suspended prison sentence and added a further five-weeks of custody for his latest offending.

He said: “These offences were carried out shortly after the suspended sentence was imposed.”

Bell was also ordered to pay compensation of £77 to Tesco.