A Masterton man with a history of shoplifting said he took steak from the town's New World because he was hungry.
Bobby-Joe Kahle, unemployed, pleaded guilty in Masterton District Court yesterday to the meat theft on November 8.
Prosecutor Sergeant Jodie Lawrence told the court supermarket staff noticed Kahle leave by walking through the checkout with something stuffed in his clothing.
Kahle fled when seen by staff who chased him, and he threw the meat packs into a garden. He was later arrested.
Kahle told police he was hungry and had no money to buy food.
Judge Tony Walsh told Kahle, who was not represented by a lawyer, he had a long criminal history that included 14 charges of shoplifting, an offence he described as "serious" and that cost businesses a lot of income.
And he warned Kahle of the consequences of his actions. "You need to understand you could go to prison for up to three months."
He ordered Kahle, who pleaded guilty, to repay the supermarket $40 and complete 80 hours' community work.