A recently released prisoner broke into a Cardigan charity shop while ‘destitute and desperate’, a court was told last week.

Michael Morris Morgan, of 6 Lancaster Road, New Inn, Pontypool, pleaded guilty to burglary and theft when he appeared before Aberystwyth magistrates on Wednesday.

The court heard that Morgan broke into the town’s Oxfam shop and stole £20 from a charity box, while he was sleeping rough in Cardigan on January 17, as he made his way from Bangor, along the welsh coast, to his Pontypool home.

Staff arriving at the shop the following morning found keys on the floor near the safe, which had not been opened as its keys were not kept on the premises.

Papers were scattered over the office, a small widow had been smashed and a charity box had been damaged and its contents stolen.

Forensics experts were able to link the break-in to Morgan, who had previous convictions for burglary.

Alison Mathias, defending, told the court Morgan had been given a travel warrant to Bangor on his release from prison, but had no connections with the area and was trying to make his way home to south Wales on foot, without any money.

She said: “He was going to go round the coast, with the sea on his right, until he reached Cardiff.

“When he got to Cardigan he had not eaten for days, and only had the clothes from when he left custody.

“He was in a state of destitution and desperation. He originally went into the Oxfam shop to gets some clothes and saw the charity box.

“It was not a very well thought out crime.”

She added that Morgan now had the support of family and the prospect of employment with a landscaping company.

Magistrates imposed a 12 month community order with supervision and a thinking skills programme.

Morgan was also ordered to repay the £20 stolen from the charity box, £20 towards the broken window, £85 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.