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Desperate homeless man stole Lego from Mansfield toy store

Mansfield Magistrates Court.
Mansfield Magistrates Court.

A desperate homeless man stole Lego from a Mansfield store when he was left without any money for four weeks, a court heard.

Staff at Smyths Toy Store, on Portland Retail Park, watched Paul Morris take three Lego sets and two key rings, worth a total of £99, on January 28, then detained him outside.

He told police he was “desperate” and homeless at the time, prosecutor Robert Carr said.

Morris, 32, and now of Shirland Drive, admitted theft when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, on Friday.

Simon Greaves, mitigating, said Morris found himself sleeping rough and a friend suggested he try shoplifting for financial gain.

“He had no money for four weeks, and was gaining access to soup kitchens,” said Mr Greaves.

“I’m afraid he’s not the first person the current benefits regime has had an impact on.”

Morris, who has no previous convictions for theft, was given a 12 month conditional discharge, and was ordered to pay £85 court costs and a £20 government surcharge.