A PROLIFIC shoplifter has been hailed as 'a success story' despite being convicted for trying to steal steak from a Tesco Express in Northwich.

Sam Taggart, of Chapel Street, has multiple convictions for theft which have all been fuelled by his struggles with alcohol.

The 37-year-old was appearing at Chester Magistrates Court on Tuesday, June 21, where he was made the subject of a fresh community order.

Taggart had originally denied charges he stole steak and assaulted the store manager but changed his plea on the day of a planned trial on May 27.

Emily Comer, prosecuting, told the court how Taggart was observed slipping packets of steak into a bag.

“He was challenged by the store manager,” she said.

“Taggart threw the bag and left the store and when he was told the police were being called, became aggressive.

“It was at that point he pushed the store manager.”

Ms Comer went on to explain how Taggart had 24 convictions for theft and had previously breached the terms of a criminal behaviour order imposed on him to help address his behaviour.

Northwich Guardian: Sam Taggart has been hailed a success storySam Taggart has been hailed a success story

Lesley Herman, defending, explained how the not guilty plea had been entered due to all of the available CCTV of the incident not being shown to her until the day of the trial.

“The items were put back on the shelf,” she said.

“It was when leaving the store, he put his hands out to push the manager.

“It is one of those instances where it just about happened.

“A guilty plea would have been immediate if we'd have seen the CCTV earlier.”

Ms Herman went on to say how Taggart had been doing well since the offence took place on February 23.

“He has cut his drinking down considerably,” she added.

“He’s also found work as a builder in London, so in a lot of ways this is something of a success story.

“The reason he was shoplifting was because he was drinking a lot.”

Magistrates decided to make Taggart subject of a new 12-month community order which includes alcohol treatment rehabilitation for three months.

As he left the dock, Taggart said: “I’ll keep up the good work.

“I’ll try anyway.”