A DESPERATE alcoholic stole from the shop he lives directly above three times in two days.

James Ferris, 48, went into the Co-op store in Iceni Way, Colchester, on May 15 and selected a variety of goods worth £25 including deodorant and booze and left without paying.

The next day he went back into the shop and took two bottles of wine and again left without handing over any money.

Ferris then brazenly went back to the shop just a few hours later and took £10 worth of meat.

After checking CCTV footage of the incidents, staff recognised Ferris because of how close he lives to the store and called the police.

He admitted three counts of theft when he appeared at Colchester Magistrates' Court.

Selena Dines, mitigating, confirmed Ferris was an Armed Forces veteran and had sought help from Outside the Wire - a drug and alcohol support serve for former serviceman.

She said: "He has got a problem with alcohol.

"There have been periods in his life when he has been able to abstain from drinking but when stressful situations occur unfortunately he relapses.

"This particular occasions is a relapse.

"He was desperate - it was obvious he was going to be recognised. It was a sign of complete desperation.

"Since the incidents he has taken himself to recovery, reached out and got him the support he needed."

Magistrates decided to fine Ferris £80.

He must also pay £52.45 compensation to the Co-op which is the value of the goods he stole which were not recovered and £115 in court charges.