A PROLIFIC thief has been spared jail after stealing £550 worth of food and cosmetics.

Stefan Jaworski took a haul from a shop in the Victoria Shopping Centre, in Southend, but was spotted by an eagle-eyed security guard.

On another occasion, he was caught leaving a BP petrol garage having picked up a number of items and made no attempt to pay for them.

As well as a the unsophisticated thefts, he also admitted three breaches of a criminal behaviour order when he appeared at Southend Magistrates’ Court this morning.

The order had banned him from entering the BP Garages on London Road, Rayleigh and in Westcliff.

Gareth Hunter, prosecuting, told the court: “These were a series of unsophisticated attempts at stealing the items.”

On the thefts from the shopping centre, Mr Hunter added: “He was pursued by the police and caught and brought back to the store where the store detective identified him.”

In total, he stole £554 worth of food and cosmetic items.

Simon Samuels, mitigating, told the court the 37-year-old, of Francis Walk, in Rayleigh, had been battling addiction to Class A drugs for 20 years and he was now determined get clean.

He said: “I ask that he be spared a jail term as I have represented him for 20 years and I have never seen him quite so organised and clear about his situation and how he wants to change.”

Jaworski was handed a two-month prison sentence for each of his behavioural order breaches, suspended for 12 months, and he must pay £200 in compensation.

Jaworski said: “I’ve been on heroin for 20 years and I’m utterly sick of it, I’m three weeks clean so far.”

In total, Jaworski admitted four thefts from stores in Rayleigh and Westcliff.