A JUNIOR snooker and pool champion with aspirations to become a professional resorted to theft to try to fund a trip to compete in a major tournament in Australia.

Blackburn magistrates Murad Iqbal was prompted to commit his first offence when he saw a woman walk out of a store, set of the alarm and walk away unchallenged.

And the court was told Iqbal adopted a "sheep as a lamb" approach after deciding he was going to steal from TK Maxx.

Iqbal, 21, of Adelaide Terrace, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to stealing clothing worth £831. He was fined £120 with £85 costs and £32 victim surcharge.

Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said a loss prevention officer saw Iqbal in the store at 10.25am filling bags with a large quantity of clothing. The alarms were activated as he left and Iqbal was detained after a chase.

Ben Leech, defending, said his client had no previous convictions and recognised he had been extremely foolish.

"He comes from a very good background and over the past few years he has had cause to call on them for help," said Mr Leech.

He said Iqbal had played snooker for England and had hopes of becoming a professional.

"He has coming up the chance to go to Sydney and play in an open tournament but the costs of that are significant," said Mr Leech.

"The backing of his father has been withdrawn and he found himself at a low ebb."

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Mr Leech said his client made the decision to steal the goods after seeing a woman walk out of the store, activate the alarms and not get challenged.

"He decided to take a chance and also made the decision that if he was going to steal he might as well steal a lot," said Mr Leach.

"He has had to go to his family and explain what has happened and it seems they have offered him some help and assistance but he is going to have to work for what he is given."