A COUPLE who stole Quality Street and lamb joints because they “needed some money” have been convicted of theft.

Kim Dunn and Robert Hardwick together stole £200 worth of Quality Street and lamb joints from stores in Clacton before being arrested in February.

The couple appeared before magistrates in Colchester on Tuesday where they both admitted two counts each of theft.

They explained they turned to theft in January because they had no money left, first targeting a Poundland store where they stole £150 of Quality Street and then an Aldi supermarket where they stole £50 of lamb joints.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Sentenced - the defendants admitted two charges each of theftSentenced - the defendants admitted two charges each of theft (Image: Newsquest)

Jasmin Akter, prosecuting, told the court the pair stuffed the packets of Quality Streets in their jackets and shoulder bags when they carried out the first thefts on January 7.

They repeated the thefts 16 days later when they concealed Aldi lamb joints and left the store without paying.

Dunn, 40, and Hardwick, 49, were not represented by solicitors and gave their own explanations to the chair of the bench Jacky Froggatt.

When Dunn apologised for the offence, Mrs Froggatt replied: “Or are you just sorry because you got caught?”

The defendant replied: “I just needed some cash at that moment – I have got no cash and no job and no money behind me.

“I was at a low point.”

Mrs Froggatt asked: “You just thought you were going to go and flog these things, did you?

“You did it in a position when you had no money and now you are going to be fined and pay compensation.

“You have come in as a person with no convictions – when you leave, you will have a criminal record.”

When asked what put Dunn in a position to shoplift, the defendant answered: “I needed some money for food; between us, we get £400 a month and we had no food.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Payments - Dunn and Hardwick must both repay Poundland and Aldi so the retailers can recoup their lossesPayments - Dunn and Hardwick must both repay Poundland and Aldi so the retailers can recoup their losses (Image: Google Street View)

“The money got stopped at some point as well – we got sanctioned because we forgot an appointment.

“We needed to buy cigarettes and tobacco and things like that.”

Hardwick, of Marinor Court, Clacton, told the court he and Dunn were recovering addicts.

Dunn and Hardwick each had to pay costs of £317, which will be deducted from their benefits.