A 36 year-old building worker of Belarusian origin has appeared in court in Monaco charged with thefts from FNAC.

The building worker was seen hiding a mobile phone and earphones in his belt by a security guard who recognised the accused from a previous visit, French-language Monaco Matin reports.

The items, valued at 320 euros, were returned to the shelves and the police arrived to take him into custody. The defendant claimed he was simply shopping, although the sum of only 77 cents was found in his pockets.

He told the court that it was customary in Belarus to carry items in a waistband.

The tribunal ruled that the guilty party spend three months in jail, plus a further month imposed last December in a suspended sentence.