Disabled thief unable to get into Exeter courtroom
Roy Storey, 46, from Exeter, admitted stealing a pair of jogging bottoms and a bottle of whisky, Exeter magistrates were told in his absence.
Storey had to wait in the downstairs foyer to hear that he had been given a 12-month conditional discharge.
The Ministry of Justice said the lift would be fixed "as soon as possible".'Drown sorrows'
A spokeswoman said: "Where possible, alternative arrangements will be made for disabled court users to attend hearings."
The court's legal adviser said it was possible for the case to go ahead with the defendant in the court building, even if he was not able to get into the court room itself.
The court was told that surgery to remove a cyst on Storey's spine had left him disabled.
His solicitor Lynda Hodgson said: "He has limited arm movements. He cannot walk."
But the court heard that he had enough arm movement to use a screwdriver to remove the security tags at Sainsbury's on the outskirts of Exeter and at Sports Direct in the city.
Ms Hodgson said Storey had wanted to "drown his sorrows".