A THIEF who stole £84 of wooden pallets from a Huntingdon business will have to complete 40 hours of unpaid work.

Stephen Elder, 53, reversed his van to the edge of Solo Cup Europe Limited, in St Peters Industrial Estate, St Peters Road, at 10.50pm on December 17, and started to load pallets onto his van.

Officers patrolling the area spotted the un-fastened pallets and stopped Elder, of Marston Road, Marston Moretaine.

Giles Beaumont, prosecuting, said that Elder, who has suffered a heart attack and a stroke, had told the police that he had permission to take the pallets and was allowed to leave.

Elder's barrister said that he was receiving income support and going through a bad spell after more than 10 years of good behaviour whilst being employed and that Elder had fallen on hard times.

Magistrates in Huntingdon gave Elder, who drives his wife to two London hospitals frequently to treat kidney problems, a 12-month community service order in which he has to complete 40 hours of unpaid work.

He was forced to pay £84 in compensation and £85 court costs and victim surcharge.