A HOMELESS man who stole alcohol from a number of shops in Salisbury has avoided prison.

Damian Chorley, 32, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of theft at Salisbury Magistrates Court on Friday (March 18).

The crimes took place between November and December and were similar in nature.

The most serious occurred on November 24, 2016, when Chorley was involved in a minor tussle with a CO-OP worker.

Prosecuting, James Burnham said Chorley walked into the CO-OP store and asked the shop worker for the price of Jack Daniels.

When the assistant reached to bring the bottle down, Chorley grabbed it and a struggle ensued between the two men.

Chorley repeatedly told the man to "f*** off", before he was able to wrestle the bottle away and ran out of the shop.

The other ten incidents, all involved the theft of alcohol, apart from on November 11 when he stole milk worth £3 from One Stop.

Defending, Nick Redhead said that Chorley was going through "an extremely difficult time".

He said: "He was homeless and down on his luck.

"He would walk into a shop, and just pick up a drink and walk out.

"He makes no bones about it, and accepts he is responsible."

Mr Redhead added that Chorley saw alcohol as "the root of his problems".

Magistrate Simon Browning considered a custodial sentence, but issued an 18-month community order.

Chorley, of Eyres Way, Salisbury, was ordered to pay £182 in compensation to the affected shops.