A THIEF stole cigarettes from an elderly man after he refused to give him money.

Arron Talbot approached the pensioner at a cash point in Colchester High Street as the man was heading to a nearby snooker club.

Having seen Talbot begging before, the victim told him he would not be getting anything from him and told him to go away.

The man walked away towards the club but felt Talbot grab at the cigarettes in his pocket.

A scuffle broke out and the 70-year-old man was pushed to the floor.

He managed to grab hold of Talbot’s shirt to defend himself and the cigarettes fell on the floor.

The scene on October 1 was witnessed by a member of staff at the snooker club who told Talbot to hand back what he had stolen.

In a statement to police she described the victim as frail, reliant on crutches and deaf and Talbot as a “well known-scrounger”.

The 42-year old was arrested and told police he had simply knocked the cigarettes out of the man’s pocket.

He was due to appear in court on October 31 but did not show up.

Police caught up with Talbot after he stole £90 worth of coffee pods from the Co-op in Tamarisk Way, Colchester, earlier this week.

During a hearing at Colchester Magistrates’ Court he admitted theft from the man, theft from a shop and failing to surrender to bail.

He also admitted breaching a community order.

Selena Dines, mitigating, said Talbot still stuck to his story about the cigarettes theft but was in a better place in his life now having started a drug rehabilitation programme.

“He saw the cigarettes hanging out and nudged them out,” she said.

“When he was asked to give them back he did.

“For the coffee, he simply did not have any money.

“So much is being deducted from his benefits and he wanted to steal something to sell.”

Magistrates said they had no option but to jail Talbot, of Conifer Close, Colchester, and handed him a 20 week prison sentence.

He will pay a £122 victim surcharge when he is released.