A PROLIFIC shoplifter has admitted to the latest in a long history of offences including one in Widnes.

James Stephen Stuart, aged 53, from St Helens pleaded guilty to theft at Halton Magistrates Court on Thursday.

He took a Dyson worth £301 from a shopping centre in Warrington on October 5 last year.

Stuart also stole a flatscreen TV worth £179 from Asda on Widnes Road on October 15.

He has numerous previous convictions for theft going back to 1986, and was last jailed in July last year for breaching a suspended sentence.

The suspended sentence was imposed for shoplifting, and he breached it by committing the same offence.

Stuart, who has long standing drug problems, claimed he stole as his benefits were stopped when he was released from prison.

The defendant was told to pay £480 in compensation, to be taken from benefits that have started again.