A man stealing a multi-pack of Budweiser was seen by an off duty policewoman as he made his way out of the Co-op at Sutton Bridge, Spalding magistrates heard.
The officer made enquiries with staff – who said they hadn’t sold any lager – and she made on duty officers aware, Spalding magistrates heard.
Tony Thackray (23), of High Street, Long Sutton, also stole bottles of drink worth £42 from Long Sutton’s Spar shop the previous month.
Rebecca Ritson, prosecuting, said the drink was found in a bush and Thackray was identified from fingerprints after denying he was the man seen stealing the drink on CCTV images.
Thackray pleaded guilty to both thefts, which took place in July and August, when he appeared before magistrates on Thursday.
He was given a community order with a requirement to do 60 hours unpaid work.
Thackray was also ordered to pay £85 costs and £7.50 compensation to the Co-op.
The drink from the Spar shop was recovered.