A WOMAN who stole the cheapest food in a store because she was hungry and had no money was told by a magistrate it was not acceptable she stole "just for being hungry".

Louisa Sewell was the latest victim of benefit sanctions to appear before magistrates when she stole a four pack of Mars bars, worth just 75p, from Heron Foods in the Swan Centre, Kidderminster, on June 22, because she had not eaten in days.

Adrian Jones, prosecuting, said the 32-year-old was seen on CCTV picking the confectionary and putting it in her body warmer before leaving the store without paying.

In mitigation, her solicitor Susie Duncan said Sewell's benefits had been sanctioned and she had no money or anyone to turn to for help so had not eaten for days when she stole the cheapest food from the store.

She said: "She fully accepts this offence of theft. She said she was really hungry. She had no money.

"In her interview she said she was really hungry, had no money for food, and took the lowest value item she could find."

The defendant had been given food bank vouchers but it was closed when she went, Miss Duncan added.

Sewell, of Comberton Road, Kidderminster, pleaded guilty to theft when she appeared at Kidderminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday, August 6.

Chairman of the magistrates Maurice Lashford did not accept Sewell's reasons for the theft.

He said: "We do not readily accept you go into a shop to steal just for being hungry."

He fined Sewell £73 for the theft and ordered she pay 75p in compensation to the store. He also imposed £150 in court charges, £85 in prosecution costs and a £20 victim surcharge.