A DISABLED man stole vodka from a supermarket because he wanted to be locked up amid concern over an issue with a former neighbour.

James Richard Weaver stashed the booze into his wheelchair before leaving Whitehaven’s Tesco store without paying for it last month. Weaver, 41, was arrested by police 20 minutes later.

That act put him in breach of two previously imposed suspended prison sentences.

One was handed down late last March, for offensive weapon possession. He received a second within a month, for public order act offending.

“Which, he volunteered to police when he was interviewed, was the reason he committed the theft,” Charles Brown, prosecuting, told Carlisle Crown Court. “Because he wanted to be locked up.”

Weaver admitted theft and accepted breaching the two previous orders.

“The sad position is this,” said his lawyer, Matthew Conway. “The theft was committed so that the police would put him in custody.

“As a starting point, it is not a good look for Mr Weaver. The reason for wanting to be in custody is not because of deliberate disobedience but because he feared for his safety.”

Wheelchair-bound Weaver, now of Main Street, Cleator, had found new and specialist accommodation which suited his disability. But he was concerned amid an alleged act involving a former neighbour and his new property.

“It was through utter, utter desperation and not realising there maybe better ways to get things done,” said Mr Conway of the defendant’s theft.

The court heard Weaver had completed a previous course of rehabilitation. “Therefore his is a man who is willing to engage and has clear evidence of his ability to engage,” said Mr Conway.

“On this occasion, though his inability to problem-solve, something with which he could be helped through more (probation service assistance), he committed the offence so he could be, in his mind, in the safe custody of police.”

Judge Nicholas Barker agreed with Mr Conway that it would be unjust to active the previous suspended sentences. Instead, the judge handed down a £150 fine and ordered Weaver — who told the court he planned to boost his home security — to complete a further rehabilitation requirement.