A CHARITY tin snatched by a thief from a Chinese takeaway only contained a few pounds, a court heard.

James Thompson, 43, went into the takeaway in Whitehaven on September 2 with another individual, who was asking about food.

Graeme Tindall, prosecuting at Workington Magistartes’ Court, said the defendant then took a charity tin for The Blind Society and concealed it in his jacket before leaving.

He was identified by the police from CCTV footage. Mr Tindall said Thompson had a ‘substantial record’ with dishonesty offences.

Thompson, of Peter Street, Whitehaven, pleaded guilty to theft.

John Cooper, defending, said: “I think it was a couple of pounds once he looked in the tin – very low value.

“He knows how it’s going to look. He said to me, ‘I can’t believe I have done it’.

“His friend has gone in to get food. He has taken it even though he is on CCTV. He is identified.”

Mr Cooper said Thompson was currently staying in the Peter Street hostel in Whitehaven, where it is ‘quite difficult’ to get a place.

“He is receiving some help. If he goes into custody, he will lose that address. He is doing better now than he has been in the past.”

Magistrates imposed a 12-month community order with a 40-day curfew to run from 7pm to 7am.

Thompson must also complete a non-residential drug rehabilitation programme. He was ordered to pay £85 costs.