A HUNGRY teenager stole hundreds of pounds worth of booze so that he could sell it to buy food.

Daniel Kelly, of High Close in Almondbury, appeared before Kirklees magistrates yesterday.

He admitted three thefts from the Co-op in Highgate, Lepton, on different dates in October.

The Huddersfield bench was also asked to take into consideration seven similar shop thefts committed by the 19-year-old.

Magistrates were told during the three offences alone more than £250 worth of alcohol was taken by Kelly.

His haul included four bottles of brandy, rum, Jack Daniel’s whisky and bottles of Courvoisier cognac.

Laurie Scott, prosecuting, said: “In each case a member of the public told security staff who went back and viewed the CCTV.

“In each case the defendant had already left the store and the goods were not recovered.”

In interview Kelly said that he stole the items to buy food.

Mike Sisson-Pell, mitigating, said that his client had taken drink because it was more saleable.

He told magistrates that Kelly was estranged from his parents and had lived on his own since the age of 16.

Mr Sisson-Pell said that the former Colne Valley High School student had been struggling to survive as he was living on reduced benefits.

He said: “This isn’t a case where the reason he stole was to buy drugs and he has no alcohol problems.

“His problem is getting enough food. He lives hand to mouth and all of the spirits once sold were converted to food stuffs.”

He added: “He knows it’s no excuse to steal but he had no alternative.

“This young man needs some help or he may again fall into criminality.”

Magistrates gave Kelly a community order for 12 months, which includes 30 days of activity and 120 hours of unpaid work. They also told him to pay a £60 victim surcharge.