A HOMELESS man who stole £500 worth of cigarettes during a burglary at a newsagent's has been jailed for a year.
Stephen Duncalf, 37, admitted breaking into Watergate News in Watergate Street, Chester.
Prosecutor Bernard Byrne told Chester Crown Court how nearby resident John Murphy heard a loud bang and saw three men by the shop at 3am on June 12.
One was Duncalf, who sleeps rough on The Rows in Chester city centre.
'They had broken the glass in the door and were leaving with black bin bags full of property.
'The men carried these up to The Rows and returned for more black bags. Two of these men went to The Cross and the other went in the opposite direction carrying the bags.
'Police went to Princess Street where Duncalf was in the car park. After a chase he was apprehended.
'Half the shop's stock of cigarettes totalling £500 were taken,' said Mr Byrne.
Duncalf, who comes from Blacon, also admitted assault and breaching a conditional discharge for 12 months, imposed for shoplifting.
On April 30, he was seen in Tesco, Frodsham Street, Chester, by security guard James Hanley.
Mr Hanley suspected Duncalf of theft this turned out to be untrue - and asked him to return to the store.
'Duncalf swung out with his right hand and hit Mr Hanley on the shoulder. He ran off but was identified by CCTV,' said Mr Byrne.
On February 8, Duncalf stole three CDs totalling £64 from Virgin Megastore in Foregate Street, Chester.
'He stole to get funds for his heroin addiction,' added Mr Byrne.
Duncalf, who is married to a nurse, has 28 previous convictions over the past 22 years, including four burglaries, three for drugs, one robbery and numerous thefts.
Defending, Robin Boag said Duncalf used to work at British Aerospace in Broughton.
But in December 1999, when the firm failed to secure the Airbus contract, he was made redundant.