A SWEET-toothed serial thief who burgled a convenience store taking a box of lollipops to "feed his kids" and four cases of beer for himself, has been jailed.

Michael Smith was sent to prison for 19 months after breaking into a McColls convenience store on Birch Hill, Bracknell and stealing crates of Stella Artois beer and a box of drumstick lollipops.

A judge heard that the 34-year-old crept out of his partner's home and took her Ford Fiesta without permission, a driving licence and without insurance.

The court heard that repeat offender Smith, who already has 20 previous convictions, drove to McColls shop and forcibly gained entry through the door using a crow bar, which police would later discover in the car.

Concerned neighbours reported a disturbance to police and officers were greeted with a drunken Smith when they arrived.

The court heard that Smith immediately admitted his offences, saying: "Times are hard, I have kids to feed, there are 80 lollies in the front glove box."

Matthew Knight, prosecuting at Reading Crown Court, said: "The defendant was drunk at the time of the offence. The defendant is 34 years old with 20 convictions on six offences, predominately theft," said the prosecutor.

"The defendant was disqualified from driving by a court at the time he committed the offence. He has previous convictions for driving without a licence but has no great urgency to pass his test."

Meriska van Leevwyn, counsel defending Smith suggested the offence was committed to fund his family lifestyle and was a result of his drug habit.

She said: "Since the age of 22 he has largely been addicted to Class A drugs, it spiralled before this offence.

"He is remorseful for, in his words "messing up" because the previous judge gave him a chance and he let them down. He has now gone cold turkey."

Judge Kirsty Real said: "The primary offence was shoplifting at McColls convenience store, thereby breaching a suspended sentence order.

"Four cases of beer and some lollipops were taken and there was damage to the door. I take the view that the crow bar and the addition of an accomplice shows that the offence was planned to some extent.

"You fell into a downward spiral and your remorse is accepted as genuine. However the matters are so serious that only a custodial sentence is justified.

"I do not find it unjust to activate the suspended sentence. In total I sentence you to 19 months in custody."