IT WAS third time lucky for a persistent shoplifter when magistrates gave him a chance to address his offending.

Blackburn magistrates heard Peter Balmain had been jailed in January and March for shoplifting and had re-offended within days of his release from the latest sentence.

Janet Sime, defending, said her client needed a chance to establish himself.

“Like many others he has come out of prison to nothing,” said Miss Sime.

“He was stealing because he was starving.

"What he really needs is support to help him get back on track in terms of benefits and housing.

"If he goes back to prison today it just starts the ball rolling again and when he is released with no money and nowhere to live we will be back to square one.”

Balmain, 42, of Bacup Road, Rawtenstall, pleaded guilty to theft of cosmetic items from TK Maxx.

He was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison suspended for six months and ordered to pay £115 victim surcharge.