A MAN in dire financial straits after his release from prison applied for a DWP loan and was offered just 8p.

Blackburn magistrates heard Carl Poynton was looking for cash to tide him over until his benefits were paid but the "computer" calculated his 8p entitlement.

To add insult to injury staff referred him to the food bank but when he got there it was shut.

Poynton, 41, of Stansfeld Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to three offences of shoplifting. He was sentenced to four months in prison suspended for 12 months and ordered to pay £67 compensation.

Tracy Yates, prosecuting, said Poynton told police his benefits were not due until the following week. Staff at the benefits agency referred him to the food bank but it was the one day of the week when they were closed. She said Poynton had been jailed in October for theft offences and was still on prison licence.

Gareth Price, defending, said the stark reality of the situation was whether the magistrates sent his client straight back to custody or gave him a chance. He said Poynton had been released from prison on Christmas Eve with a discharge grant of £46.

"He had to sort out a claim for benefits, which has now been approved, but it will not be paid until Tuesday," said Mr Price.

"He went to the benefits agency and applied for a loan.

"He was told he qualified but the computer calculated that loan at 8p. The food bank was shut and he had nowhere else to turn."

Mr Price said out of desperation Poynton went to Boots and stole some baby items which he hoped to sell.