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A desperate Brit says he was forced to steal sandwiches from Poundland due to the crippling cost of living crisis.

Former delivery driver Steve Anthony, 42, said he had exhausted “every other avenue” before pinching the food.

Mr Anthony stopped shoplifting after receiving help from a local community hub, although many other Brits are turning to crime to survive.

Shops have reported a big rise in theft of essential low-value items from milk, cheese and cooking oil to baby milk and nappies.

Mum-of-four Lisa Ann has also admitted that she too had stolen from a Co-op due to soaring energy and food prices.

Both she and Steve also save money through various means, such as washing themselves in cold water and eating just once a day as a result of the cost of living crisis.

Household energy bills increased by 54 per cent in April this year, and are likely to continue spiralling with analysts predicting that the October price cap could hit £3,359.

Steve, from Sheffield, bravely admitted to The Mirror: “I’ve gone into Poundland and stolen things because I’ve not had enough money.

“I’ve taken sandwiches. I did it when I wasn’t able to take my anti-depressants because I hadn’t eaten.

“I need to eat food before I take the tablets or they don’t work. If I can’t take my tablets I’m buggered.”

Mr Anthony, who cannot work because of his depression, said he only stole the food after exhausting “every other avenue”.

He has stopped shoplifting since receiving help from Sheffield’s Link Community Hub, which provides emergency food supplies to the needy.

Mr Anthony said: “Before prices went up I managed to make my money last a fortnight. Now a few days after I get paid I have to come to the food bank.

“The electricity went up in April and food has literally doubled in price.

“I’ve been without electricity for four or five days before. I couldn’t watch TV, I couldn’t do anything. I was living on power banks.

“My neighbour has brought an extension cable out to me on occasions so I can charge my phone and stuff.”

Mr Anthony said he is sometimes left without electricity and gas because he cannot afford to pay off the debt on his pre-payment meter – a method which is frequently more expensive than paying through a direct debit.

The price cap on pre-payment tariffs increased to an average of £2,017 a year in April – up by 54 per cent from its previous level of £1,309, according to MoneySavingExpert.com.

He added: “I haven’t had the heating on for two months so I haven’t been able to wash my clothes with hot water.

“When my clothes dry they smell mouldy. I’m having to have cold baths, which is really horrible, and I can’t have a proper shave as I need hot water.

“It’s making me feel really depressed. I get upset all the time.”

Mr Anthony, who claims Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), only eats once a day.

His usual meal is spaghetti bolognese but he cannot afford to buy meat for the dish.

The former delivery driver said he now receives 60 to 75 per cent of his food from the food bank.

Lisa Ann, 41, also receives help at The Link Community Hub and said she too was forced to steal food due to the cost of living crisis.

The mum said her life has become so bleak she “wants to kill herself every day”.

She told The Mirror: “I stole sausages, bread and butter from the Co-op to make a sandwich. That was before I came to the hub.

“Since January I’ve lost a stone and a half because I haven’t been eating. Sometimes I’ll have a slice of toast in one day.

“I haven’t had the heating on since last year. I’m washing my hair with washing up liquid in cold water.

“It gives me brain freeze so I’ll boil the kettle to pour warm water on my head for the last bit.

“I haven’t had deodorant for a couple of weeks. I wake up every morning and I want to kill myself. I get up crying.”

Ms Ann, who is also on anti-depressants, said she also struggles to pay off the debt on her prepayment meter so she can keep using electricity and gas.

At one point she had to throw away a chicken as she did not have enough electricity to cook it.

She recently had to send her children to live with their grandmother because she could not cope any longer.

The Link Community Hub is currently working with Sheffield City Council to move into a new premises.

The hub’s flat will have a shower and cooking facilities, enabling people to enjoy a hot meal and a wash.

Helen Eadon, who runs The Link Community Hub, said some hard-up Brits are handing vegetables back to food banks because they cannot afford to cook them.

She warned that the country faces a “crisis like we’ve never seen before” if energy prices continue to rise this winter.

“You try living for a week eating cold food and living without heating. These are people who suffer with mental health issues anyway. They will take their own lives,” she said.