A ‘starving’ Isle of Wight homeless woman, who stole food from Tesco ‘to survive’, has been handed a conditional discharge but must pay compensation to the supermarket.

At the Isle of Wight Magistrates’ Court on May 10, Lois Hicks, of no fixed abode, pleaded guilty to theft from a shop.

Prosecutor Lauren Stone said the store manager at Lake Hill’s Tesco Express reported that the 30-year-old had left the shop without paying for items on April 9.

Hicks was caught on CCTV picking up a fajita kit, a pack of dark Kit Kats and some instant coffee before leaving the store. 

The store manager recognised Hicks from previous incidents, and the goods were not recovered, Ms Stone said.

Oscar Vincent, defending, said his client was homeless at the time, and the only support she received from the council was being provided with a tent, describing it as a "disgraceful local policy."

Mr Vincent told the court Hicks was “starving” at the time and was “stealing to survive,” taking two small food items and instant coffee to make a hot drink.

A representative from the probation service said Hicks is progressing well with a pre-existing community order.

Magistrates handed Hicks a six-month conditional discharge but ordered her to pay £10.05 compensation to Tesco.