A serial shoplifter who was rumbled after a moment of remorse led him to try to return a handful of stolen goods has been convicted.

Colin Jackman, 52, of Bartons Way in Farnborough, took more than £80 of razor blades from Morrisons in Aldershot before he was spotted putting the items back.

He was accosted by a member of security staff, Michael Gates, as he left the store whereby a scuffle ensued, during which Jackman was alleged to have assaulted Mr Gates.

During a hearing at Aldershot Magistrates’ Court last Thursday, Jackman pleaded guilty to one count of theft from a shop and another of assault committed on February 18.

He also pleaded guilty to two further theft matters relating to a separate incident on January 7 when Jackman was caught taking £10.28 of energy drinks and biscuits from Wilkinson’s in Farnborough and a £3 card from Clinton Cards.

Prosecutor Serena Edwards said Jackman was seen ripping security tags off packets of razor blades and putting them in his bag but returned them shortly afterwards.

“He then paid for a few items and left the store,” she said. “Mr Gates followed him out and the defendant lashed out, hitting him to the right side of the face.

“They struggled and the defendant is described as trying to squeeze Mr Gates’s leg before striking out again. He was finally subdued with the help of an off-duty officer.”

At interview, Jackman said he felt guilty about taking the items and decided to put them back, after which he was approached by two men who ‘manhandled’ him. He made full admissions and the items were recovered.

Fiona Taylor, defending, said Jackman should be given credit for coming clean with police at the scene on January 7 and again, for co-operating following the February 18 incident.

Mrs Taylor said Jackman had been struggling with his behaviour, and a gambling addiction, for some time and was fighting his demons.

“For a long time, he was in employment,” she said. “But he suffered a number of bereavements he hasn’t coped well with. He lost his job in May last year and his subsistence offending started then. He’s on anti-depressants and a course of unpaid work which he finds very cathartic. He has prospects, he is engaging with probation and he’s positive he can move on.”

Chairman of the bench Jenny Gove sentenced Jackman to a 12-month community order and ordered he pay Mr Gates £50 compensation by way of punishment.

As part of his community order, Mrs Gove also ordered Jackman complete a further 14 hours’ unpaid work on top of 66 hours outstanding – 80 hours in total. He must also pay a £60 victim surcharge.