The great Golders Green etrog theft

A man has been fined after he stole an etrog from a specialist Succot store.

Ali Kerman-Shali was arrested after he put the fruit in his pocket and ran away from the shop in Golders Green, north west London.

The etrog was estimated to be worth around £80.

The 23-year-old Iranian told officers he had taken the fruit because he thought it "smelled nice" and he intended to eat it. He immediately admitted the theft when arrested in the early hours of last Friday morning. He had only two pence and could not afford to buy the etrog.

Kerman-Shali, of Friern Barnet Road, north London, admitted one charge of theft at Hendon Magistrates' Court on Saturday and was fined £65. He was also ordered to pay a £15 victim surcharge to the store.

A police source said officers were "stunned" to discover the etrog's value after arresting Kerman-Shali, having initially believed he had taken a lemon, worth around 30p.

It is not known whether the etrog was returned to the store before Yom Tov.

Last updated: 1:33pm, October 4 2012