A FORMER heroin addict stole from shops in Evesham because he was broke and desperate, Worcester magistrates heard.

Clive Gibson, aged 41 and formerly of Worcester, admitted six counts of stealing from shops in the town.

Two were for stealing headphones and other items from the town’s branch of W H Smith, both on September 8 last year.

On January 8 this year, he stole meat products worth £100 from the Co-op in the town, and on January 12, stole protein powder worth £64.99 from Holland and Barrett.

On January 14, he stole washing-up liquid worth £30 from One Stop in Evesham, and on February 2, he stole protein powder and supplements from Holland and Barrett.

Mark Sheward, defending Gibson, said that for many years, he had been an “entrenched addict” of heroin and of crack cocaine.

“When he was using heroin, he accepts he was carrying out thefts to fund his addiction,” he said. “In September he was still using the drug at that time.

“But round about Christmas time and January, he was able to remove himself from heroin, and is now on methadone.

“Unfortunately, just before Christmas, he was burgled, and everything he had was stolen, and his benefits were stopped, and as a result, he resorted to theft.

“But in this case he came out to steal, not for heroin this time, but simply in order to have something to live on.”

“He has the resolve, after many years taking the drug, to remove himself completely from heroin.

“He has a girlfriend, and has moved out of Worcester away from people who would persuade him back to drugs.”

The court placed Gibson, of Castle Street, Evesham, on a community order for 12 months, with 20 rehabilitation activity days that he must take part in.

He was told to pay £100 to Co-op, £30 to One Stop and £64 to Holland and Barrett in respect of goods that were not recovered or could not be re-sold.

But the court made no order for him to pay costs or a victim surcharge, with magistrates praising him for his efforts in battling his addiction.