A MAN decided to steal a bottle of sherry after the supermarket had sold out of a cheaper product, magistrates heard.

Stephen Martin Beardwell, 44, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to stealing a bottle of QC Sherry to the value of £5.50 belonging to ASDA.

Amy Davies, prosecuting at Hereford Magistrates Court last week, said that at 4.30am on August 24, a security guard had noticed the defendant acting suspiciously and watched him on CCTV taking an item from the shelf and put it inside his jacket.

They saw him walk past all the till areas where he made no attempt to pay. He was stopped in the foyer area of the supermarket where he was asked to empty his jacket and found to have the QC Sherry.

"Beardwell was taken to the holding area and was asked to sit down but he repeatedly attempted to leave," said Mrs Davies.

"He attempted to push past the security guard causing them to take him to the floor. They had to throw the sherry to the side preventing it from being used again."

On interview Beardwell made full admissions and told officers that he went into ASDA with £5 but the sherry he intended to buy for £4 had sold out so he decided to steal the £5.50 bottle.

He apologised to police for messing them around over 50 pence.

Chris Read, mitigating, said that Beardwell was homeless and had a massive alcohol problem.

"It's his routing first thing in the morning to buy a bottle and get the day started," said Mr Read.

Natalie Johnson-Stanley, probation officer, said that Beardwell had been working with alcohol treatment service Addaction and had reduced his alcohol use.

"It is a vicious circle as he has nowhere to go so turns to alcohol to get him through the day," said Miss Johnson-Stanley.

"We are trying our best to help him out."

Magistrates ordered Beardwell to complete a community order for three months with an alcohol treatment requirement and five rehabilitation activity days.

He was also ordered to pay £5.50 compensation to ASDA and an £85 victim surcharge.