Reforming heroin addict Robert Lang stole after he was unable to collect his methadone prescription from the pharmacists, magistrates have been told The 31-year-old, of no fixed abode, took a puffa jacket worth £19.99 from New Look in Borough Parade, Chippenham.

Then on September 1 he entered The Co-operative in Martingate, Corsham, and stole five bottles of spirits worth £105.75.

Alexis Pink, defending, said her client had been using illegal substances from a young age but, while in prison for a previous offence, he got himself a prescription treatment and had been doing well since his release.

But at the end of August, Lang’s regular pharmacist went on holiday and an agent took over. The agent did not tick the boxes to say Lang had been collecting his prescription and when the regular pharmacist returned his prescription was stopped.

Miss Pink said: “He found himself in a desperate place, having been so pleased with his programme. He began using again and as a consequence he did steal these items to fund this.

“He comes before you extremely distressed with his old ways. He is stable and on benefits, so has no reason to be committing any offences in the future.”

Lang, who admitted two charges of theft when he appeared before North Wiltshire magistrates on Friday, was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay compensation to the stores.