A FATHER stole computer games and mobile phones to pay for food and electricity for his young family.
Marc Griffin, 33, of 3 Gould Road, Barnstaple, appeared before North Devon Magistrates' Court on Friday charged with two counts of theft.
He admitted stealing two PS3 console games valued at £82.17 from Tesco on July 29, and two Sony Ericsson mobile phones valued at £119.94 from Tesco between July 20 and 28.
Ben Winzer, for the prosecution, said the shoplifting offences were caught on CCTV and the defendant identified.
He said a ban was also in place prohibiting him from the store.
The court was told that Griffin has an extensive history of offending and owes more than £1,000 to the court.
Tim Hook, for the defence, said Griffin and his partner live with their two-year-old child and are reliant on benefits from the state.
He said: "There is absolutely no margin or scope beyond their total reliance on these monies and them coming regularly."
He said there was a hiatus, their payments stopped for two weeks and they were not able to get emergency or crisis loans as they have had them in the past.
Mr Hook said: "I'm afraid over a period of years when crisis has loomed he responded by doing something dishonest.
"There was no scope to borrow and he felt temptation to take these items to fund food, electricity and basic essentials for his young family.
"He felt stuck between a rock and a hard place."
Magistrates imposed a three month community order with a curfew from 7pm to 7am and electronic tagging.
Griffin was also ordered to pay £202.11 compensation.