A BLACKBURN Hawks ice hockey player was part of a 'team' that stole CDs, DVDs and computer games worth £1,500 from Woolworths.

Blackburn magistrates heard that Matthew Southall was working at the town centre store and had helped to set up the back-door theft.

Southall, 19, of Green Drive, Clitheroe, pleaded guilty to theft.

He was ordered to do 200 hours community punishment and pay £130 costs.

John Wood, prosecuting, said that at the time of the offence in April, Southall had been working at Woolworths on a part-time basis for about seven months.

On the day of the theft a closed circuit TV operator was monitoring the rear door of the store, which opens on to the car park.

He saw a man leave carrying a box and a suitcase, which he placed in a silver car.

The police were called and the car was identified as belonging to Southall.

"He says he was not responsible for physically passing the items out of the door," said Mr Wood. "But he accepts he was aware it had taken place and that he had been involved in the preparation of the theft."

"He was also aware the property was going to be collected by a third person."

Jonathan Taylor, defending, said his client was due to go to America for three months where he would be playing semi-professional ice hockey.

"Despite that commitment, he will be able to complete a community punishment order," said Mr Taylor.

He said that before going to America, Southall would attending interviews at two universities and would be starting at one of them in September.

"Clearly he is a young man with some considerable potential.

"He is disappointed with himself for becoming involved in these offences," added Mr Taylor.

Nobody from Blackburn Hawks ice hockey team was available for comment.