A man who was caught red-handed stealing booze from a Chard supermarket said he had been acting under duress from someone else.

Security officers working at Tesco spotted Joshua Miller de-tagging bottles of alcohol shortly after noon along with another male who he would not name.

The defendant was arrested and appeared in the dock before District Judge Angela Brereton, sitting at Yeovil.

Miller, 31, of Beckington Crescent, Chard, pleaded guilty to the theft of property worth £205 belonging to Tesco on November 14 last year.

Prosecutor Emma Lenanton said that Miller went to Tesco and was seen on CCTV at 12.35pm walking around with another male.

“He was seen de-tagging various bottles of alcohol which was picked up on the store’s CCTV but it was not known who the other male was who was working with the defendant,” she said.

She said that Miller was also currently subject to a conditional discharge for another offence that was committed a month after this incident.

Greg Peters, defending, said that there had been an element of duress placed upon Miller at the time he committed the offence.

“That is thankfully no longer at play as his circumstances have changed and he no longer lives under that duress,” he said.

“He made a stupid decision, and one that he regrets, and his last shoplifting offence was over 15 years ago.”

He added that Miller had some health difficulties which made him vulnerable, and he had been placed on medication.

District Judge Brereton told Miller the offences were “out of character” for him and imposed a 12-month conditional discharge.

She also ordered him to pay £205 compensation to Tesco but did not impose and costs or victim surcharge.