A convenience store owner in Durham won't be retiring any time soon after receiving shoplifting compensation so low that it's not worth his while cashing the cheque.

While Mohammed Javed was in the back room of Vigo Food Stores in Birtley, a criminal came in and stole four bottles of beer. After checking the CCTV footage, local police were able to catch the offender.

However, following the prosecution, Mohammed received a compensation cheque from Gateshead Magistrates made out for the princely sum of 10 pence.

"At first I thought it was £10 and a mistake had been made, but this was not the case," said Mohammed. "What am I supposed to do with it? It would cost me 50p to bank it."

Instead of cashing the cheque, Mohammed has placed a copy of it in his shop window to express his disgust. "It's a joke, a complete waste of time and money for everyone," he said. "It costs more for the stamp and to print it off. Why did they bother?"

A spokeswoman for Her Majesty's Court Service said that cheques of such low value are not meant to be sent out and apologised for the error.