A MAN who steals 'because he is an alcoholic' has been spared from being sent straight to jail.

Mark Henderson, 38, who has been in and out of prison, was given the chance to deal with his drink problem when he appeared at Barnsley Magistrates' Court.

Henderson was ordered to undergo six months of alcohol treatment as part of a 16-week jail sentence, suspended for a year.

District Judge John Foster said there was a chance Henderson would breach the terms of the suspended sentence.

He said: "Nothing suggests to me you're going to make a genuine effort to deal with your drink problem.

"You're an alcoholic. Alcoholism is an illness which leads you to commit offences and spend long spells in prison.

"Do not spend what little money you have on drink so that you have to steal. You're 38. If you don't deal with this problem, you will struggle to reach 48."

Eric Bray, defending, said Henderson, of Hope Avenue, Goldthorpe, was 'potentially down and out' when he last came out of prison because he had nowhere to live and no money.

Jayne Ormrod, prosecuting, said Henderson stole meat worth £30 from a branch of the Co-op. She said it was never recovered.

Henderson, who admitted shoplifting, was ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge, £35 in costs and £30 in compensation.