A FORMER drug addict was told to “grow up” by a magistrate after he stole ham, sardines and lager from a supermarket to save money for tobacco.

Shaun Band was arrested after attempting to steal the items from Lidl, Malvern, at 11.45pm on September 11, so he could spend the money he had on him on tobacco.

The 29-year-old told police he was “going through a hard time after the breakdown of a long-term relationship,” prosecutor Kerry Lovegrove said.

The court heard Band gave up drugs around a year ago but has nine convictions – and spent Christmas and New Year in 2010 behind bars for fighting.

Keith Stoke-Smith, chair of the bench, said: “What’s important, food or tobacco?”

Asked about his previous offences, Band, who was representing himself in court last week, said he was previously “heavily on drugs” and was “thieving to fund my drug habit.”

However, the defendant has since worked towards turning his life around, given up the habit and started work as a labourer.

He is currently working five days a week in Malvern – but does not have a permanent address. Instead, he sofa surfs or stays at his mum’s home in Lancaster Close, Upton.

Band apologised for the theft from Lidl saying he had wasted police time.

A probation report, read out in court, revealed the defendant completed a community order in May with no breaches – though he does owe the court £450 in fines and costs.

Mr Stoke-Smith suggested any sentence should include some thinking skills sessions because he believed Band has a “very immature brain.”

“At the age of 29, when are you going to grow up?” he said. “You should have grown up at 18 or 19."

Mr Stoke-Smith advised Band to go to the council and explain his situation in the hopes of securing housing.

He added: “Good luck in changing your life.

“You can’t excuse what you are doing.

“When you say ‘yes’ to me or whoever, you make sure you mean it.”

Band was given a 12-month community order, which includes 20 Rehabilitation Activity Requirement days and 80 hours of unpaid work.

He must also pay £120 in court costs and fines.