A WINSFORD man turned to alcohol and heroin after losing his mother to Covid-19, a court has heard.

Daniel William Pritchard, 39, of Nixon Drive, stole several packets of steak from the Tesco Express store in Weaverham, which he later sold to buy the class A drug.

Rob Youds, prosecuting, told Crewe (South Cheshire) Magistrates Court how Pritchard entered the store on July 11 this year, took several packets of steak, with a value of £60, from the fridge before making off without paying.

The alarms at the entrance of the store sounded and although the staff shouted after Pritchard, he fled the scene and the items were never recovered.

Mr Youds said: "Pritchard was interviewed by Police in September.

"He admitted stealing the items, which he then sold to buy some heroin because he wanted to sort his head out."

Mr Youds went on to say how Pritchard has 34 convictions for 71 offences, including for similar offences, but that his last conviction dated back to 2017.

Stuart Flood, defending, told the bench how it was very sad that a man approaching his 40th year was now back before the courts, before going on to blame the recent lapse on Covid-19.

He said: "His mother, who had no underlying health conditions, was very suddenly taken ill with Covid-19 in mid April.

"She sadly passed away and as a result of that, Mr Pritchard began drinking heavily as a way of coping."

Mr Flood went on to explain how Pritchard wanted to take his own life and that was why he had gone out to steal and buy the heroin that day.

"However, since the incident he has been able to realise that his late mother wouldn't have wanted that, he added.

"He has now moved in with his brother and is hoping to find employment.

"He has asked me to express to the court that he is deeply apologetic and realises this was not his finest moment and simply wants to move on with his life."

Pritchard was ordered to pay £60 compensation to Tesco, was fined £40 and must also pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £34.