Steak thief ‘had beef’ with supermarket, court told

Exeter Magistrates Court

Exeter Magistrates Court - Credit: Archant

A man stole seven steaks from Waitrose because he ‘had beef’ with the supermarket, a court heard.

Nicholas Jeffries, 51, admitted a charge of theft and another of intentionally causing criminal damage, but told magistrates sitting in Exeter he ‘did not feel at all guilty’.

The court heard how Jeffries, formerly of Baker Close, Sidmouth, entered the Exeter branch of Waitrose at 6pm on Saturday, November 2, where a security guard recognised him and followed him around the store.

Jeffries was stopped when he attempted to leave without paying for the steaks and other items to the value of £79.

The police were called and arrested him on arrival.

As they were escorting him out, Jeffries kicked a free-standing wine stand, destroying six bottles of wine to the value of £29.

Representing himself, Jeffries told the court: “It was a Saturday night and I had had a couple of drinks and I was skint.

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“Coming from the pub, someone said they would give me a few quid for some steaks so I went in to get myself some food as well.”

Jeffries admitted he ‘had a bit of beef in his head’ because of an ongoing dispute with the Sidmouth Waitrose branch over the removal of a bench, that used to be at the bus stop, when the store’s car park was extended.

“They moved the bench and I asked if they could replace it,” he told the court.

He added that he asked again when he saw an old lady sitting on the floor at the bus stop.

“They said I was not the sort of person they want in their store,” said Jeffries.

He told the court: “I kicked out at the wine bottles and I do not feel guilty one little bit for that, but I won’t do it again.”

The chairman of the bench told Jeffries: “We take the point that you have got a problem with Waitrose.”

The defendant, who gave his current address as Lancelot Road, Exeter, was given a six month suspended sentence that was reduced to four months because he pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity.

He was ordered to pay compensation to Waitrose to the value of £29 and a victim surcharge.