A 30-year-old Tesco worker was "off his face on drugs" when he removed the security tags from expensive items in his girlfriend's shopping trolley, which she then wheeled out the door.

Dean Rogers, from Corban Avenue, Enniskillen, and his 24-year-old girlfriend, Michela Breen, from Keenogue Road, Trillick, admitted stealing a digital camera, television and video game to the value of �312.87.

He was employed under the Government's Steps to Work programme, aimed at getting unemployed young people into jobs.

District Judge Liam McNally told him: "You worked at Tesco by reason of the fact that they promoted the Steps to Work programme and placed a degree of trust in you to try and get you back into employment. You betrayed their trust by going to the store with Breen and stealing a substantial quantity of goods." He sentenced him to six months in prison, suspended for three years, and fined him �200 "so you can pay that out of your pocket rather than spending it on alcohol".

He put Breen, who had no previous convictions, on probation for 12 months on condition that she attends an alcohol and drug counselling programme.

Outlining the background to the case a prosecutor told Fermanagh Court that at approximately 1.30am on November 6, last year, police attended the Tesco supermarket in Enniskillen where security staff had detained a female shop-lifter.

CCTV showed her in the electronics section and Rogers, a Tesco employee, lifting a 23 inch LCD television worth �170 and putting it into her trolley.

They also put a digital camera worth �99 in the trolley before going to the entertainment section, where Breen lifted a Playstation 3 game worth �47.99 from a shelf and put it into the trolley.

Rogers left and went to his check-out. She continued to walk around the store and then went to his check-out.

He helped her pack, removing the security tags from the expensive items and handing them to her to put in her trolley.

She paid for some food items with coupons and a small amount of cash and proceeded to walk out the door.

However, security staff stopped her and asked her for a receipt for the television, digital camera and computer game.

When she was unable to produce a receipt they escorted her to the staff quarters and the police were called.

Rogers was arrested and made no reply. He subsequently told police he was "off his face on drugs".

Breen made full admissions to the offence.

The items were recovered and were fit for re-sale.

Defence solicitor, Miss Michelle McVeigh, said Rogers, who she referred to as Gillen, and Breen, were in a "casual relationship".

She said Rogers has "significant real issues with alcohol and drugs" and has been seeking help. He was ashamed of his behaviour and apologised.

Miss McVeigh said it was while Breen was living in Birmingham that "her addictions spiralled out of control". She had not previous convictions and was extremely ashamed of her actions.

The solicitor submitted that there was "very little planning or sophistication" in the crime.

Tesco, Britain's largest supermarket chain, faced criticism over its participation in the Department of Employment and Learning's Steps to Work programme, designed to help unemployed young people find a job.

Left-wing campaigners picketed some of its stores and occupied others, claiming the work experience aspect was little more than "slave labour".