A HEROIN addict has been given a fresh chance at life having been spared jail for theft and failure to surrender to court.

Steven Norton, of no fixed abode, appeared at Reading Magistrates Court on Monday January 8 accused of the theft of Brut Champagne from Waitrose in Bracknell to the value of £28.28.

He was also accused of failing to comply with the requirements of post-custodial supervision.

The 31-year-old admitted the charges, and was given a charge of £125, though this was struck as he had spent the night before his appearance at court in custody.

He was charged with having stolen a bottle of Brut champagne from Waitrose, though his lawyer was quick to point out that this is sparkling wine, not real champagne.

A representative from the mental health organisation set up to help defendants spoke in court and explained Norton’s situation.

“The breaches are probably because he has no house, no money, no phone, and nowhere to live, so it is a chaotic life.

“We are able to help him, if he wants to help himself.

“He has been stealing to fund a heroin addiction, and he suffers from mental illness as well as hepatitis C, he also has a prosthetic leg that he has had issues with.”

The barrister said: “You are not the worst person we have seen here today, but you are also certainly not the best.

“We want to help you, and you can do it, you just need to be the one who does it. The help is there for you.

“You have got to see that we are bending over backwards for you.

“With regards to the theft of the champagne from Waitrose, what we are going to do is give you a conditional discharge.”