A HEROIN addict seen stealing hanging baskets in broad daylight admitted he was selling them to fund his habit.

Blackburn magistrates heard one of the victims was a couple in their 80s who were left "extremely distressed" after seeing Shaun Clark stealing their property.

Clark, 29, of St Peter Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to three charges of theft and one of attempted theft. He was given a conditional discharge for two years and ordered to pay £146 compensation.

Peter Conroy, prosecuting, said three of the offences were committed on Burnley Road in Blackburn and the other on nearby Worcester Road.

Two of the offences involved hanging baskets, one a hanging ball and the other a clay plant pot. Clark had moved the hanging basket in the attempt charge but not actually removed it before he was disturbed.

When he was interviewed Clark admitted the offences and said he needed money to buy heroin.

"He said he had been seeking help and was due to attend a pharmacy that afternoon to collect a methadone prescription," said Mr Conroy.

"One of the victims was in his 80s and he and his wife saw the defendant through the back window removing their property. The were particularly distressed and found it difficult to sleep that night."

Jonathan Taylor, defending, said people put up hanging baskets to make their home look as nice as possible and took great pride in them.

"He never thought of it that way at the time," said Mr Taylor.

"He was struggling with a drug addiction and acted in an impulsive way. He sold the hanging baskets to buy heroin."