A DAD-OF-THREE has avoided prison despite stealing £105-worth of food for his son’s birthday party from a supermarket while serving a suspended sentence.

Derrick Chase stole sausage rolls, crisps and other party foods during a visit to Morrisons on Roman Way, Malvern, for his three-year-old son’s birthday.

The 35-year-old was stopped by security as he left the store, having waited inside the entrance for several minutes – described as a “crisis of conscience” by his solicitor.

Peter Love, prosecuting, said the defendant had gone into the shop on June 29, placing a bag inside his trolley and hiding items in it.

He then walked straight through the self-service area, but stayed in-store for some time before leaving and immediately being apprehended by security staff.

Mr Love said: “He is ashamed that he stole the goods and wishes he had paid for the items.”

The court heard that Chase, of Furrow Close, Upton, is currently serving a suspended sentence for a battery offence on his partner of six years.

Mark Turnbull, defending, said his client suffers from bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression and, following a reassessment of his disability living allowance, had just learnt he was losing £500-600 per month at the time of the theft.

The reduction in personal independence payments, employment support allowance and other benefits is being appealed against, the solicitor said.

Chase had arranged a birthday party for his son and, having spent £50 on a bouncy castle, “realised he’d invited children to come round but hadn’t got any food to offer them”, said Mr Turnbull.

The court heard that if the value of the thefts had been under £100, then police would not have been unlikely to proceed with charges and would have sought a community resolution.

Mr Turnbull said Chase did have the money to pay for the items and initially went to the normal tills, but seeing there was a large queue went to the self-service section instead.

He said his client sat on a bench near the entrance for a few minutes before going ahead with the theft.

Due to this offence not being in the same category as the one relating to the suspended sentence – put in place in May 2017 – Mr Turnbull argued his client should not go to prison.

He said Chase had just lost his father prior to the battery offence and that “he was struggling and the relationship got into trouble”.

“They have clearly had a difficult time over the last year,” he said, adding that Chase’s three-year-old son, “would find it particularly difficult to be away from his father for some time”.

Chair of the bench, Susan Roberts, said “it would be unjust” to activate the suspended sentence on this occasion.

“You have completed one year of your suspended sentence without incident with your wife,” she added.

He was ordered to undertake 20 rehabilitation activity requirement days and given a four-week curfew, between 8pm and 7am, and ordered to pay £130.