PRESSURE from drug dealers to settle a £4,500 amphetamines debt led a Lake man to repeatedly steal alcohol.

Darren Stride, of Manor Road, appeared before the Isle of Wight Magistrates' Court on Tuesday (November 23).

The 45-year-old former chef admitted 11 counts of theft, between September 4 and November 6, 2021.

He also admitted a single count of going equipped for theft, on November 6, 2021.

Prosecutor, Ann Smout, told the court the offences took place in stores in Newport and Ryde, where Stride had selected bottles of spirits and left without paying.

She said on the final occasion, Stride had stolen a bottle of gin from Sainsbury's and was found a short while later with a pair of pliers.

Mrs Smout said he was arrested and told police he sold the alcohol on to pay off his debt.

The total value of the stolen good was estimated to be £460 from Tesco, £259 from Morrisons and £80 from Sainsbury's.

Barry Arnett, defending, said it was a bizarre case because Stride had no recent offences of dishonesty.

He said it was a lesson for people who dabbled in drugs because Stride had to sell off all of his tools and his car to help pay off a debt for amphetamines.

He said he had been put under pressure to start paying and had received threats from his dealers, who told him they knew where his children lived.

Mr Arnett said it was his dealers who suggested he steal to pay off the remainder of his debt.

A probation report, read out in court, revealed how Stride had obtained substances from four or five different dealers, and had accumulated £4,500 worth of debt.

The court heard Stride started taking amphetamines ten to 15 years ago, and was thoroughly ashamed of his behaviour, having hit rock bottom.

Stride was given a 12-month community order, to include 15 rehabilitation days and 130 hours of unpaid work.

He was ordered to pay £460, £259 and £80 compensation to Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury's respectively.

He was also ordered to pay costs of £85 and a £95 surcharge.