An off-duty policeman caught a man attempting to steal work clothing worth almost £100 from Wickes in Grantham.
Mark Porter, of Princess Drive, Grantham, admitted theft after concealing two pairs of workmen’s trousers inside his jacket and leaving the premises.
However, Porter set off the store’s alarm system. He made a run for it but was pursued by an off-duty policeman who detained Porter in the car park.
Giles Tyas, defending, said the offence came about as Porter is in financial difficulties.
The defendant spoke to a friend about borrowing some money but instead the friend said he wouold give him money if he went out and stole the trousers from Wickes.
Mr Tyas said: “He went there to get it because he was absolutely desperate.”
Mr Tyas added: “He is struggling desperately to make ends meet for food, dog food and every other necessity that’s out there.”
Porter, 31, was sentenced to a 12-month conditional discharge. He must pay costs of £50 and a £15 surcharge.