A former fitness instructor who had got himself into such a dire state that he was once living in a river bank stole from a high street chain.
Grant Jackson admitted stealing clothes worth £140 from Marks and Spencer when he appeared before magistrates.
He also pleaded guilty to breaching the terms of two suspended sentences for previous offences.
Katie Beattie, prosecuting, said that on September 16 the 26-year-old was seen by a staff member entering the Wigan store and putting four shirts into a carrier bag.
Jackson was detained by staff and later told police he had stolen the goods to fund his methadone addiction.
Rob Haygarth, defending, said: “The defendant has had a criminal past and had problems with drugs but has tried to sort it out.”
He added: “He has had periods of being homeless and at one point was living in a river bank as he was so desperate for shelter.
“He now has a tenancy with the YMCA, in North Road, St Helens, and intends to sort his life out.
“About nine years ago Jackson was a self-employed fitness trainer for 10 weeks and since then Inland Revenue has been pursuing him for not filling in his tax return and he owed £5,000.”
Pleading to the magistrates, Jackson said: “It is not a fun life and I have not enjoyed it. I want to fix my ways.”
Jackson was given a six-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months and a six-week curfew order.