Free trip home for man who stole drink

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A SOFTWARE engineer stole beer and wine from London shops during a week-long drinking binge.

Alexander Parker, 26, of Borley Close, Honington, was arrested after stealing for the second time in just three days, City of London magistrates were told.

He pleaded guilty to stealing a £9.49 bottle of wine from Portland Food and Wine, on Ludgate Hill, on November 13 and sandwiches and four cans of lager worth £10.54 from Marks and Spencer on November 15.

Magistrates conditionally discharged Parker for nine months and gave him a free travel warrant to get home.

Prosecutor Ijaz Malik told the court on Wednesday: “It was 8.20 in the morning when the shopkeeper at Portland Food and Wine saw the defendant pick up a bottle and put it in his bag.

“He was followed and arrested as he left a toilet near St Paul’s Cathedral.

“He took the other items at 2.45pm at Marks and Spencer and made no attempt to pay,” said Mr Malik. “When he was stopped, he asked ‘can’t you just give me a fine?’.”

Parker’s lawyer Paul Ramage told the court: “He lives in Suffolk with his partner and her two children and last week had a disagreement and as a result came to London to get away from it all.

“He spent five days here and ended up using all his money after recklessly spending it.

“He did not have money to purchase the items and wrongly tried his luck to steal the items. He sometimes binge drinks and decided to have a drink in London.

“He is upset that he has left his partner alone for a week and has some explaining to do in that domestic capacity.”