A SHOPLIFTER who stole a £250 iPad from a Carlisle store was thrown a lifeline by magistrates after they were told he has turned his life around.

John Greenup, 45, stole the device from the city’s Peter Tyson store on January 9.

He walked into the shop, saw the display item, and then stuffed it up his jumper before leaving without paying.

At the city’s Rickergate Magistrates’ Court, the defendant, of Warwick Road, Carlisle, pleaded guilty to theft.

Prosecutor Diane Jackson said Greenup was caught after his crime was caught on CCTV and police identified him.

“He has 23 previous theft offences on his record,” said Mrs Jackson.

John Smith, for Greenup, said the defendant’s criminal record had finished in December.

The lawyer said that at the time of the theft Greenup was homeless, and told police he was in a bad place.

He had gone to Peter Tyson’s to buy a sound-bar but staff were busy dealing with a customer at the time.

He spotted then display item.

“It was there in front of him and he just took it and walked out of the shop,” said Mr Smith.

“There was no violence and it wasn’t planned.

“It was not particularly serious. Since then he has done a lot to turn his life around.”

The defendant was not taking illegal drugs and he now had secured a tenancy for a property and was in a relationship that was stable and supportive.

The lawyer handed the court a reference from Greenup’s partner

Greenup also worked as a volunteer at a Carlisle cafe and has committed no further offences since the theft, said Mr Smith.

The lawyer added: “He is generally coping remarkably well.”

Magistrates accepted the defendant appeared to have got himself on to a better path.

The presiding magistrate told the defendant: "There are good prospects for rehabilitation and we would not like to stifle that, so we're going to give you a lifeline."

The imposed a 12 month conditional discharge but said Greenup must pay Peter Tyson’s 250 compensation.

“They are entitled to have their money back," said the presiding magistrate.