A HABITUAL crook, who made off with meat from a food store in St Albans just months after he was sentenced for a similar offence, has been jailed for one year.

Simon Sarkissan of no fixed address but thought to be from north London, pleaded guilty to the attempted theft which occurred in Marks and Spencer in St Peters Street on Thursday, December 13, last year.

St Albans Crown Court heard how Sarkissan and an accomplice had been caught on CCTV stashing packets of meat in their jackets at Marks and Spencer in St Albans.

The pair were stopped outside the shop by security guards and asked to return the goods. But just weeks later Sarkissan was caught stealing four bottles of perfume worth £165.50 from Harrods in London.

A co-defendant, who was not named in court, was found with perfume worth £117.

The defendant was given a two month prison term for each theft to run consecutively and a further eight months for breaching a suspended sentence imposed in July for two shop lifting offences.

Sarkissan, who has a number of convictions dating back to 1998 mostly relating to theft, said he stole to feed his drug habit.

Defence counsel Jonathan Woodcock, said: "The corner for drug users so far as becoming clean is not an easy one to turn.

"It seems the involvement and abuse of class A drugs was through the loss of relationships.

"What does he actually have to call his own? I don't speak in material terms - he's lost his relationship, he's lost his work, he's lost his son - there's not much positive going on his life."

But despite the defence's mitigation Judge Selvaratnum QC said Sarkissan had been given enough chances by the court to kick his drug addiction, but had failed to do so.

She told the defendant: "It seems you have been able to remain drug free in custody, but haven't been so successful in the community."