A COCAINE addict stole coffee machines from a department store to pay for his addiction.

The desperate Louis O’Brien also stole a laptop from a friend and meat from other shops during a spate of thefts to pay for the class A drug.

The 26-year-old appeared at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday to admit his latest theft of a laptop worth £200 from a friend’s house on May 28.

O’Brien had also previously admitted to a string of other thefts, including two coffee machines, both worth £630, from the Debenhams store in the Eastgate Shopping Centre on April 25 and May 3.

He also stole meat from the BP garage at Cranfield Park Avenue in Wickford and from the BP in Roundacre, Basildon on July 11 worth a total of £178.

O’Brien, of Sandringham Road, Laindon, appeared at court wearing a grey t-shirt, speaking only to confirm his name and address and admit his crimes.

Beheshteh Engineer, prosecuting, told the court O’Brien had gone to a friend’s house in Basildon on May 28 and asked to buy his laptop to give to his sister.

She said: “Both left the house and went to meet the sister, at which time the defendant took the laptop with him and failed to pay for it.”

Catherine Sutcliffe, mitigating, said that O’Brien had gone through a troubled upbringing including suffering abuse.

She said: “He moved in with his grandfather, who became his key figure growing up. When he died he took this badly and his drug usage escalated and he used cocaine more regularly.

“He had a child when he was aged 17, and when he moved to Southend he became the child’s main carer.

“When he lost the care of his child, his drug usage escalated.

“He realises he can’t carry on the way he is going, to fund a habit.”

Chairman of the bench Phillip Esdaile chose to grant O’Brien conditional bail until his sentencing on October 8.

He will be under curfew from 7pm to 7am and must report to Basildon Police Station three times a week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Addressing O’Brien, he said: “Hopefully this will be a wake-up call for you and you can get your drug use under control.”