A couple who were arrested for stealing discarded out-of-date groceries from a supermarket have escaped a jail term, thanks to a compassionate judge.
The Daily Mail reports:
"A husband and wife who were caught on CCTV stealing out-of-date food from Tesco bins to survive have avoided sentencing after a sympathetic judge said 'how are they expected to live?' Paul Barker, 39, and Kerry Barker, 29, of Sunderland, were spotted on CCTV sifting through out-of-date groceries at the back of a store on January 5 after their benefits were stopped and they could not afford to feed themselves or their children."
Police spotted the couple stealing the food from a supermarket bin. They were later charged with theft and made to appear in court. The couple told the paper that they did not consider their actions theft, on the basis that the food had been discarded by Tesco, who chose not to press charges.
According to the Trussell Trust, a charity which runs food banks, 13 million people live below the poverty line in the UK. Their website states:
Every day people in the UK go hungry for reasons ranging from redundancy to receiving an unexpected bill on a low income. Trussell Trust foodbanks provide a minimum of three days' emergency food and support to people experiencing crisis in the UK. In 2013-14 foodbanks fed 913,138 people nationwide. Of those helped, 330,205 were children.
I can't begin to imagine what it's like to have to resort to feeding my family from the contents of a supermarket's bin, but it's well documented that none of us are as many steps away from the breadline as we like to think we are, so I am heartened by this judge's response. It beggars belief that this case got as far as the courts, in my view.
Information about how to access your local food bank is available here - you can get in touch to access emergency food supplies, or to donate items.