A CONVICTED thief who has lost 13 stone in the past nine months told a court he wished he could be fat again if it would solve his problems.
Lee Grace, 33, of Crewe, was arrested in April in Northwich when police caught him stealing items worth £455 from shops in the town centre.
He appeared at Northwich Magistrates Court charged with stealing vitamins and cosmetics worth £296.21 from Superdrug as well as home furnishings worth £155 from All That Jazz.
He also faced three charges of failure to surrender and one of stealing CDs worth £256 from Asda in Newcastle-under-Lyme. He pleaded guilty to all the charges.
Derek McDonald, defending, put his client's missed appearances down to his health problems.
He said: 'Mr Grace used to be double the size he is currently and was at least 24 stone. To that extent, he had problems in fitting into society, meeting people and making friends.
'He went to the doctor for help, which he says was refused, and he ended up going private, where he was prescribed slimming pills, which he later became addicted to.
'He had lost his confidence and did not go out the house, in essence becoming a prisoner in his own home as he was worried people would make fun of him.
'In addition, he has been diagnosed as having an obsessive compulsive disorder, which means he is constantly cleaning.
'He has also told me this morning that he has been feeling suicidal.
'Mr Grace has recently told people he is close to that he is gay.
'That is a big step for him as he is scared of whatever consequences may come as a result of that.'
The court heard how, on April 16 this year, Grace, of Railbrook Road, was seen putting various shopping bags into the boot of a car parked in a side alley near Weaver Square in Northwich.
He was seen to be acting suspiciously and the police were called to the scene.
They found the boot to be open and discovered the shopping inside, arresting Mr Grace when he returned to the car.
Grace told the court he was sorry for his crimes.
He said: 'Nine months ago I went to the doctors but in the end I went private and could not stop it [taking the pills]. I have only recently seen my family for the first time in five months.
'It has caused me mental and physical problems beyond belief. I wish I could go back to being fat.'
He was jailed for a total of three months and 42 days, made up of one month for each theft and 14 days for each failure to surrender charge.