A MAN has been jailed after being convicted of taking a sandwich from a petrol station.

Benjamin Lucas Smith was found with a “bag containing a sledge hammer and a wrench” outside a burgled petrol station in Dibden Purlieu

He was discovered when police arrived eight minutes after being called to find a window had been smashed at the Tesco’s, petrol station, Southampton Magistrates Court heard.

Prosecuting, Sarah Lodge said Smith, 39, had been found by PC Gary Kimble in bushes near the petrol station after he and a fellow officer had inspected the station.

The 39-year-old pleaded guilty to burglary and having the offensive items outside the petrol station

Mrs Lodge added: “PC Kimble saw a dark figure in the bushes which then went out of sight and then saw a bag with a set of wooden handles.

“He believed them to be a pick axe or a wrench sticking out of his bag.”

Defending, Janet Brownlow said her client had “stumbled upon the weapons left outside the petrol station” and that the “petrol station had already been burgled before he arrived”.

She said: “He saw the window open and was very hungry so put his hand in to grab a sandwich from the petrol station then found the bag [of weapons].”

When district recorder Peter Greenfield questioned why Smith, of Whittingham Cottage, Lyndhurst, was around the petrol station so late, Mrs Brownlow said: “He was wandering around because he was sleeping rough at the time.”

The court heard that Smith had battled with drugs, which at one point saw him spend “around £200 on drugs a week” and his habit was “spiralling out of control”.

Smith had a number of previous convictions which included handling offensive weapons which include a Chinese martial arts flail and piping.

Mrs Brownlow added that Smith’s attitude and lifestyle had “changed dramatically” since he had moved in with his mother and that he had been accepted for a job at an Isle of Wight holiday park, working in a gym.

In sentencing Smith to 16-weeks imprisonment, for which he is to serve at least half, Mr Greenfield said: “This could have been a sophisticated break-in but it was agreed by magistrates that you found the petrol station open.”

Smith was also ordered to pay £115 costs and £85 victim surcharge.