A GOOD Samaritan stole to fund his mercy mission for a sick friend and his dogs.

Blackburn magistrates heard Paul Alan Gill was caring for the friend after he had been released from prison but couldn't afford food for his pets.

He told police the box of chocolate bars he stole from Wilkinsons had been sold so he could by dog food.

Gill, 47, of Clarendon Street, Accrington, pleaded guilty to theft of chocolate bars worth £60. He was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay £60 compensation.

Gareth Price, defending, said on his release from hospital the friend and his three dogs had come to stay with Gill.

"His benefits were sanctioned and he was struggling financially," said Mr Price.

"He stole to buy dog food."