On charges of theft, addled war hero Jeb Longacre told Westminster Court that he’d been confused his whole life, taking from shops and paying for free stuff.

“Isn’t this how it works?” the befuddled 85-year-old asked the judge before sentence was handed down.

The topsy-turvey Camden pensioner had pleaded guilty to stealing three peaches and a tin of cat food from his local Tesco Express where he had been nicking regularly for “as long as I can remember”.

Free at last

But, in mitigation, the court heard that the widowed war hero had set up a series of standing orders in order to pay for library books, Google searches, smelling fresh flowers, bumping unexpectedly into old friends, standing in the rain after a long hot summer, and showing unconditional love to his wayward step-daughter.

Wiping a tear from his eye, Judge Abernathy said, “You’re free to go,” whereupon a bemused Longacre reached for his cheque book and said, “Do I make it out to you?”