A SHOPLIFTER who stole items from a Chester store and placed them under his baby’s pushchair was collecting items for his friends back home in Algeria.

Fatah Amarat, 35, of Mill Lane, Buckley, pleaded guilty to stealing seven watches, a pair of women’s boots and a phone charger from the Chester branch of TK Maxx when he appeared at Chester Magistrates Court on Friday, December 6.

He also admitted going equipped for the theft, by taking a pair of pliers which he used to take security tags off the items before leaving without paying.

Prosecuting, Alison Warburton said Amarat had gone to the store with his wife and baby which was in a pushchair.

After the theft, Amarat was stopped outside the store and detained.

In an interview, he fully admitted the offences, saying he was going back to his home country and his friends had asked for these items to be bought.

He explained he did have money in his bank account to pay for the items, but if he did, he would not have enough to pay the bills.

The total value of the items stolen was £248.92.

He described his actions as “devilish” and was ashamed of his behaviour.

A probation report heard Amarat, who had no previous convictions, had been in the UK for 15 months and was living with his wife and six-month-old daughter.

He worked at the 2 Sisters Food Group factory and because of the varying shifts would be unable to do unpaid work or be subject to a curfew.

Defending, Richard Sibeon said Amarat was extremely ashamed of what he had done and had clearly made a grave error.

Magistrates ordered Amarat to pay a £491 fine, plus £85 prosecution costs and a £49 victim surcharge, while the pliers were to be forfeited and destroyed.