Ex-hockey star Nicholas Long from Chatham stole £450 of shopping from Sainsbury's by scanning every item as loose onions
Nicholas Long scanned all his shopping at Sainsbury's as onions. Picture: Central
A debt-ridden former international hockey player pretended his Sainsbury's groceries were onions in a bid to reduce his shopping bill, a court heard.
City recruitment consultant Nicholas Long, from Chatham, stole up to £450 after he used the same ruse 20 times in just three months.
The 25-year-old was rumbled when a security guard noticed Long was scanning every item as loose onions – despite them not being sold at the store.
Long, who played under-19s hockey, invented the scam when he feared losing his job and his then-girlfriend fell pregnant, the Old Bailey heard.
He was also saddled with a £10,000 loan from his father's failed building firm.
Long, of Melbourne Road, was caught trying to get away cheaply with a £22 shop on August 7 and confessed to having repeatedly conned the central London store.
Prosecutor Denise Murrin said Long has previous convictions for shoplifting a coat and trying to pass a bottle of champagne off as bleach to buy it on the cheap.
Angus Mathieson, defending, admitted Long had been "stupid", but driven by mounting debts.
He said: "He was not getting a stupid amount, not substituting champagne or anything like that, but just getting an avocado and claiming it was an onion."
Hockey player Nicholas Young carried out a con at Sainsbury's
Judge Paul Worsley QC dubbed Long a "persistent thief" and warned him he was on the edge of a prison sentence.
Long, who admitted a single rolled-up count of fraud by false representation, was given 180 hours' community service and ordered to pay £250 costs.
- Click here for more Medway news
- Click here for more news from across the county