A DISTRICT judge has told a Flintshire homeless man that he is "disheartened" to hear of his plight.

Andrew Jebb was referring to the circumstances that had led to 35-year-old Marcin Larm to be living in a tent, after the man had lost his job just over two years ago.

Larm was appearing at Mold Magistrates Court where he admitted to stealing several items from the Morrison's store in Connah's Quay.

The low value items, including deodorant and a Babybell cheese had been taken so that Larm could eat and keep himself clean.

Jim Neary, prosecuting, told the court how Larm had been spotted by staff at the supermarket placing the items in his pocket at around 5pm on February 1.

Larm paid for a bottle of water but as he was leaving the store he was stopped and searched, and the items, including batteries, were immediately recovered. There was a previous offence for a similar matter last year, which had been proved in Larm's absence.

Patrick Geddes, defending, said how his client had moved to the UK from his native Poland in 2005 and had always been in employment until two years ago when he was made redundant.

The knock on effect of losing his job meant Larm could no longer afford to pay the rent on his home, so he was made homeless.

He said the defendant was now sleeping in a tent and although he had registered with Flintshire County Council, was clearly not a person considered a priority for housing. To make matter's even worse, his identification document had also been recently stolen from him.

Mr Geddes said: "These offences have been committed out of desperation, more than anything else."

He requested that the judge consider dealing with the matter as a conditional discharge, as Larm had not been present for the last hearing in court.

District Judge Andrew Jebb agreed with the request and told Larm that he had clearly stolen the items to feed himself and keep himself clean and that the offence would be wiped off the slate if he stayed out of trouble for the next 12 months.

He said: "It is really disheartening to hear about the circumstances surrounding the fact you're living in a tent.

"The situation has been made even worse because you have had your identification documents stolen from you."

Larm was given a conditional discharge but must pay a surcharge of £21. No compensation was granted as the items had been recovered.