A MAN was detained by an off-duty police officer as he tried to steal chocolate bars worth £158.50 from a supermarket in Rawtenstall.

Blackburn magistrates heard when he was interviewed Paul Frank Almond confirmed it was him caught on CCTV a month earlier stealing £150 worth of chocolate bars from the same Asda store.

Almond, 45, of Walmsley Street, Great Harwood, pleaded guilty to two charges of shoplifting.

He was made subject to a curfew between 7pm and 7am for five weeks and ordered to pay £150 compensation.

Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said the first offence was committed on August 23 when Almond left the store undetected.

On the second occasion, on September 3, he was seen by the off-duty police officer who followed him out of the store and arrested him.

When he was interviewed he admitted both offences and said he was selling the chocolate to raise money for electricity and things like that.

Jonathan Taylor, defending, said Almond received just £190 a month universal credit and was struggling financially to make ends meet.

“He has a friend who stays with him and usually helps with the bills but his benefits have been sanctioned,” said Mr Taylor.

“He is genuinely remorseful and doesn’t want to be doing this kind of thing at his time of life.”