AN INVETERATE drunk questioned the cost of a tiramisu he stole from a One Stop – claiming it was £1 cheaper than prosecutors claimed.

Jason Smith, who has battled alcoholism for two decades and was last year banned from loitering in town, admitted stealing the dessert from the Toothill convenience store in September.

Appearing before Swindon Magistrates’ Court, the 39-year-old of Cheney Manor Road pleaded guilty to two other shop thefts and possession of cannabis.

Prosecuting, Michelle Hewitt said Smith had been seen by staff in the town centre Iceland on August 3 selecting a bottle of brandy from the shelves in an apparent shoplifting bid.

He was challenged by staff members and although Smith threatened violence the Iceland staff members were able to get their bottle of brandy back.

Two days later Smith was back in Iceland despite having been banned by store staff. The alcoholic took a bottle of sherry and stashed it down his trousers before leaving the shop.

Smith used a similar tactic to lift the tiramisu dessert from the shelves of the Toothill One Stop on September 3.

“A witness has seen the defendant take the tiramisu, place it in his shorts and leave without paying,” Ms Hewitt told magistrates.

Smith was arrested in October on suspicion of shoplifting. When he was searched police found a small amount of cannabis consistent with personal use.

Emma Thacker, defending, said it was a shame her client had not been dealt with for the shop thefts when he had last appeared before the courts for matters committed in September.

Smith had turned to shoplifting the booze after running out of benefits cash with which to buy the alcohol: “He couldn’t afford to buy any alcohol and if he doesn’t have any alcohol he has a seizure.”

Turning to the tiramisu, Ms Thacker said: “Mr Smith is of the opinion that the tiramisu was only £1.50.

“I don’t think he’d be too aggrieved if you gave consideration to compensation of £2.50.”

The solicitor said her client had abided by a court order made earlier this autumn banning him from the majority of shops in the town. Smith was said to be complying very well with his community order and cutting back on his alcohol intake. Magistrates ordered Smith pay compensation of £16 to Iceland and the One Stop.