Shoplifting TV chef says media went over the top

Celebrity chef Antony Worrall Thompson said he would rather have gone to prison than endure the public fall-out following his arrest for shoplifting.

The Ready Steady Cook star said he felt he had been put in the “modern day stocks” by some, but that he had been overwhelmed by messages of support from thousands of well wishers.

The former I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! contestant was cautioned by police after he was caught stealing from the Tesco store in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, while using a self-scanning till last Friday.

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The 60-year-old gave his first interview since the incident on Irish television while on a visit to Dublin.

“I’m in a bad place obviously,” he siad.

“I’m very embarrassed, very ashamed, I put my hands up to it, I did it, which is inexplicable.”

He added: “It’s something that I’ve got to get to the bottom of and I’m having counselling.

“I reckon I’m usually a pretty good guy, I do a lot for charity, a lot of helping other people and I don’t know what on earth made me do that, it’s just extraordinary.”

Mr Worrall Thompson said thousands of people had logged on to his website to give their support but contrasted that to his treatment by some sections of the media.

“What I’ve suffered this week is worse than doing a prison sentence,” he claimed.

“I would rather have been fined or gone to prison because the Press have been extraordinary.

“It’s just been beyond any relationship to the crime.”