A MAN who took a slab of cheese during a raid on Stourbridge Horticultural and Catering College has avoided jail.

Shane Smith, aged 23 from Cradley Heath, was with two other men when they carried out the break-in and his fingerprint and footprint were found inside the college, which teaches students with learning difficulties.

When investigating police officers went to Smith's home in High Haden Road they found a large block of cheese in his fridge which was identified as coming from the college.

At Wolverhampton Crown Court, Judge Nicholas Webb told Smith: "This was a mean offence, a not insignificant amount of property was taken and it has never been recovered."

The College premises were vulnerable, added the judge, because they were not guarded but he ruled he was just able to avoid sending Smith straight to prison because it was his first burglary.

Smith admitted carrying out the raid and was given a six month jail term suspended for two years coupled with 12 months supervision with a condition he attends the Alcohol Treatment Programme.

He was further ordered by the judge to pay the college £1,000 in compensation to help cover the £2,050 worth of property that was stolen including a computer.

Simon Williams, for Smith, said the college canteen was the only site entered by the burglars and it was offence that was committed by Smith on "impulse."