A 46-YEAR-OLD woman who fell victim to the post-prison poverty trap went stealing to survive.

Blackburn magistrates Kim Brown was caught stealing a joint of meat and Mark Williams, defending, said the offence was committed out of desperation.

"There is a real problem these days with people coming out of custody and not having any way of sustaining themselves," said Mr Williams. "My client was released with a discharge grant of just under £40. She resigned for benefits but has been told the first payment will not be until January 2."

He said Brown had been released November 21 and her problem was how to exist without money until January 2.

"People do wrong and are sentenced and come out and try to start afresh," said Mr Williams. "It is very difficult unless you have in place some kind of support network, which my client does not have. How do you manage with no money"

He said Brown had decided to go to her mum's in Peterborough.

Brown, of Edgworth Grove, Burnley, pleaded guilty to theft of a £14 piece of meat from Sainsburys. She was given a conditional discharge for 12 months by the magistrates who said they were sympathetic to her situation.