A MAN who picked pouches of counterfeit tobacco from a skip has appeared in court accused of theft.

Bolton magistrates heard how police investigating a shop burglary searched Thomas Jones' Belmont Road flat.

Robin Lynch, prosecuting, said police came across 53 pouches of what they thought was tobacco, in a bin, which they took to the shop owner, who denied they were his.

"The defendant admitted to finding those items in a skip," said Mr Lynch.

But all was not what it seemed, explained Stephen Teasdale, defending.

"It had the appearance of being tobacco, in pouches. Actually it wasn't," said Mr Teasdale.

"It had the consistency of compost and, in actual fact, it was counterfeit. That explains, presumably, why it was put into the skip in the first place.

"He takes it out of the skip, finds that it is not tobacco by trying to smoke it and disposes of it." Jones, aged 36, was arrested after failing to appear in court and appeared before magistrates the same


He pleaded guilty to theft by finding and Mr Teasdale stressed that police would not have known about the theft from the skip if Jones had not told them.

Magistrates decided that Jones had been punished enough by being kept in custody for the morning and he was released .