A homeless Sutton couple who admitted stealing, missing drug tests and court appearances were given a choice between mending their ways, or ending up in jail, "or worse dead."
Kerry Ann Causer and Daniel Lynk stole perfume from Matalan, on March 26, said prosecutor Ali Zaki.
The pair admitted the theft, and a string of offences when they appeared at Mansfield Magistrates Court, last month.
Causer, 37, admitted failing to attend drug assessments on March 18 and April 1, while Lynk, 35, admitted failing to attend a drug assessment on April 5, and failing to attend court on May 16 and 30.
Chris Perry, mitigating, said they have drugs issues, but were "able to manage their misuse", and had not been stealing since the last offences.
He said the transfer of their benefits to Universal Credit had led to a build up of rent arrears, and they had lost their home on Woods Hill, Sutton.
"They are in a fragile position," he said. "They are attempting to secure accommodation outside the Ashfield area.
"They can't go to Ashfield council. They are not entirely sure what to do next."
District judge Jonathan Taaffe said: "Four weeks ago you appeared before me. I told you I would give you an opportunity to change your lives.
"In fairness to you, you have kept out of trouble. I accept that you have a chaotic lifestyle and problems with drugs.
"It is self-inflicted. You are still relatively young. If you wish to have a life at all, you will sort out the problems you have.
"If you don't, you are going to end up in prison or worse, dead. You know that and I know that."
He gave Lynk 20 weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months, but did not order costs or compensation.
Causer received 24 weeks, suspended for 12 months, and was ordered to pay a £115 government surcharge.
You can read more of the latest court cases from Mansfield Magistrates Court here.