A DRUG addict who has racked up more than 280 convictions has been sent back to prison just days after being released.

Steven Baker, of East Hill, Colchester, was released from Chelmsford Prison on Friday, however by Sunday he was caught stealing four bottles of vodka from the town’s Marks and Spencer store, in High Street.

Security staff at the store spotted Baker stuffing the bottles into a bag and managed to apprehend him before he left.

He was arrested and remanded in custody before his appearance at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court yesterday.

At the hearing the 36-year-old admitted one charge of theft, adding to his extended rap sheet, which has 283 convictions on.

Richard Baker, mitigating, said the items were recovered and so the store had suffered no loss from the theft.

He said: “If he had no previous convictions it would be a straight forward issue to sentence, however I accept his previous convictions aggravate the circumstances.

“He has been battling a drug addiction for a number of years, as a consequence of which his crimes have been committed to raise funds to buy drugs.

“He finds himself in a situation where he is committing crime to get food to eat.

“In January he was in court for a minor railway offence and he was recalled to prison.

“He came out of prison on Friday and he was given a rail ticket to get to Colchester.

“He had no money and when he arrived he was not in a position to secure funds.

“He slept rough on Friday and Saturday then on Sunday he went into the shop, picked up the bottles and tried to walk out.

“He wanted to sell them to buy some hot food from the local takeaway.

Mr Baker added: “He has not been out of prison long enough to be in a position to sort his financial matters.”

Magistrates sentenced Baker to 16 weeks in prison for the latest theft.

In order to pay his existing fines balance of more than £4,000, magistrates agreed Baker would spend 72 days in prison.

The sentences will run consecutively.

Baker was also ordered to pay a £115 victim surcharge.