A THIEF was still asleep in bed when he should have been at a Worcester court and then claimed he did not have the funds to pay for public transport to get there.

Lee Mitchell, aged 44, from Dudley, was due to be sentenced for theft, going equipped and in possession of a blade in Norton, near Worcester, but did not attend the hearing at the city's crown court on Tuesday.

Ekwall Tiwana, defending, said: "He simply hasn't got any money to get here. He lives in the Dudley area."

Judge Nicholas Cole said when court staff called the defendant at 11am he was still asleep in bed.

"That hardly suggests he was taking the court process seriously" said the judge.

However, Mr Tiwana said his client had been 'worried about these proceedings' and was hoping to sort out his Universal Credit on Friday which would give him enough money to afford the travel costs.

The judge said: "I'm persuaded in the circumstances, regrettable though it is, that this defendant has not been able to make himself available today for sentence."

He issued a warrant, backed for bail, and adjourned the case until Monday, August 3, for sentence.

The case was listed as 'not before 11.30am' by the judge to give the defendant time to get to court from his home address in Waverley Street, Dudley.