An ex-heroin addict with almost 70 offences on his record went back to crime when he 'fell off the wagon' and started using drugs again, a court heard.

Burnley magistrates were told how John Paul Learoyd, 47, stole beef and cheese worth more than £150 and when he was arrested claimed to police he didn't have enough cash to pay for food.

But when he appeared in court Learoyd confessed he was addicted to heroin again, after kicking the habit and being out of trouble for a decade.

Learoyd, of Holmes Street, Burnley, admitted two thefts. He had 64 previous offences and was in breach of a conditional discharge.

He was given a nine-month conditional discharge, which the bench said was to assist him to seek help.

Ben Leech, defending, said Learoyd had offended regularly until 2002 and in 2003, a substance related offending programme 'seemingly worked wonders'.

He added: “To some degree, he has fallen off the wagon. In January he was signed off work because of nerve damage to his leg. He became unemployed.

“He had pain in his leg and because of the company he was keeping he was introduced to heroin once again.”