Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Friday, September 25, how Gary Pollard, 59, was finally caught at a Tesco store in Alfreton following raids at another Tesco and a Sainsburys in Mansfield.
Prosecuting solicitor Ian Shaw said: “The concern is that there were three thefts in one day at three different shops.
“Staff at the Alfreton store detained Pollard and he initially gave a wrong name and gave police different addresses.
“There was a lot of misinformation coming out but a key was discovered in his shoe and this led to a van where other items were discovered from the thefts at the other two stores.”
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Pollard initially gave staff two different names, according to Mr Shaw, and he gave police a number of addresses.
Mr Shaw added that Pollard also claimed he was going to Blackpool to spend money gambling and was of no fixed address and he was going to stay in a hotel or in a van.
Police viewed CCTV footage which showed Pollard picking up items, putting some back and as he put a basket on the ground he put other items in his pocket and exited the Alfreton store.
Pollard eventually admitted the thefts which included eye drops, fungal cream, batteries and Ferrero Rocher chocolates and he said his motivation had been debt.
Mr Shaw added: “After police discovered the stolen items and the van Pollard decided to tell the truth and he gave an account where he admitted the offences.”
Delivery driver Pollard, of Nursery Close, Hellesdon, Norwich, pleaded guilty to the three thefts which were committed on September 9.
He said: “I would like to apologise that I have caused grief to you and my wife and everyone else.
“It was out of character and I have never done anything like it before and will never do anything like it again.
“I owe about £30,000 and have an interview planned with the Citizens Advice Bureau.
“When I was doing it I didn’t know why I was doing it or what I was going to do with it all.
“I don’t understand it. My wife doesn’t understand it and I totally regret it.”
Magistrates sentenced Pollard to a 12 month community order with 60 hours of unpaid work.
He was also ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge, £85 costs and a £180 court charge.