A man who gave a false name to police has been jailed for nine months.

Glen McMahon, 38, of Grantham Road, Brighton, escaped a criminal prosecution when he was arrested for shoplifting by giving the name of a friend.

But when McMahon was caught stealing from a charity shop days later, police checked his finger prints and discovered he had a long list of previous convictions under his real name.

McMahon admitted stealing a bottle of sherry from Safeway, in St James's Street, Brighton, and a cassette player from the Mind charity shop, also in St James's Street, when he appeared at Lewes Crown Court yesterday.

He also admitted perverting the course of justice by giving a false name and obstructing officers.

Roger Booth, prosecuting, told the court McMahon was given a caution after his first arrest in November. When he was arrested days later, McMahon was confronted with his real name but persisted in claiming it was not him.

Mr Booth said: "Eventually, he admitted he had assumed the identity of a friend because he wanted to make a new start."

The court heard McMahon, who has previous convictions for dishonesty dating back more than 20 years, had an alcohol problem and had been attending meetings at Alcoholics Anonymous in custody.

Judge Guy Anthony told McMahon: "You have an appalling record of dishonesty and it just seems to go on and on."