Town End Farm and Downhill duo caught in the act trying to steal three crates of Fosters from Seaburn Morrisons.

With thanks to court reporting from Gareth Crickmer.

Two repeat offenders have avoided prison after they were caught in the act of attempting to steal three crates of Foster’s lager from Seaburn Morrisons.

Craig Finnigan, 43, and Ben Taylor, 41, found their three “shambolic” attempts to pillage Morrison’s at Seaburn, easily thwarted by security guards

But Finnigan, of Baden Terrace, Town End Farm, and Taylor, of Kingsland Square, Downhill, were then aggressive to staff when confronted.

Mrs Foster told magistrates in South Tyneside: “This is hardly the most sophisticated theft that you’ll have come across.

“The witness is a security guard who saw two males enter the store with trolleys. Both appeared to be heavily intoxicated.

“She watched as one went through the self-scan with the trolley without paying. He was stopped and escorted out and both males left together.

“Ten minutes later, both males came back in and tried to steal three cases of Foster’s from the front of the store

“At this point, both men are said to have been aggressive towards staff. They then attempted to come back inside the store again but were blocked.

“It is not the most sophisticated and perhaps was fuelled by alcohol. The fact they went back suggests some planning. All items were recovered.”

Taylor and Finnigan each pleaded guilty to two counts of theft from a shop by stealing £596 of mixed goods and £48 of Foster’s lager.

The court heard Taylor has 30 previous convictions from 61 offences, and Finnigan 39 convictions from 86 offences, including 30 thefts.

Tom Morgan, defending the men, said: “Both defendants had consumed strong alcohol.

“This was certainly not a planned or sophisticated offence, as one might see with a professional shoplifter.

“This was effectively drunk men being extremely intoxicated making a foolish decision to steal some alcohol.