Homeless man was ‘sleeping out’ when he tried to steal

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A homeless man with long standing drink problems tried to steal wine in Sainsbury’s by drinking it in the store.

Matthew Preece (39) was followed by a security guard at the supermarket on Holland Market, Spalding, on the morning of April 13, magistrates heard.

Marie Stace, prosecuting, said Preece picked up a bottle of wine, placed it into a carrier bag and walked towards the cafe area.

A police community support officer was there at the time and Preece was stopped as he headed for the toilets.

Miss Stace said Preece was interviewed by police and admitted “his intention was to drink the bottle of wine while in the store”.

Preece, who now lives with his parents in Middle Marsh Road, Moulton Marsh, pleaded guilty to attempting to steal a bottle of wine worth £6.65 and breaching two conditional discharges by committing that offence.

He was fined £75 and must pay £40 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.

Preece told magistrates he had a long history of drink problems and was homeless and sleeping out at the time.

He said: “I was in desperation that day, asking for help.”

Preece said he hasn’t touched drink for four weeks, describing his parents’ home as “a secure, dry environment”.