A THIEF is better off behind bars because there he can get away from his difficulties, York magistrates heard.

Liam James Baker, 25, admitted two shoplifting offences committed last year at Aldi’s Fulford Road store and at Homesense in Foss Islands Road.

Magistrates jailed him for 12 weeks.

His solicitor, Mark Thompson, said being locked up was the “best thing that happened to him”. Mr Thompson said: “For two or three months at the end of last year Baker had had problems with a large proportion of the travelling community which caused him all sorts of difficulties.

“He had nowhere to live and his life had been very, very difficult.

“Going into custody gave him a chance to sort his life out.”

Baker has also been remanded in custody by York Crown Court as he is awaiting sentence at the end of this month for a burglary.

Colette Dixon, prosecuting, told York magistrates Baker had stolen meat valued at £85.17 from the Aldi store on December 11. He had been captured on CCTV and was arrested the next day and released on bail.

On December 13, staff at Homesense saw him leaving their store with a large bag containing clothing without paying.

He was identified from CCTV and arrested on December 18.

The prosecution said Baker stole slippers and socks worth £159.85 from Homesense, but Baker disputed the amount.

Mr Thompson said it wasn’t clear from the CCTV exactly what had been stolen.

Staff had done a stock check and Baker had been charged with stealing all the missing items.

Baker was on a community order at the time of the thefts. It had been imposed in August for shop thefts committed while on bail.