Muffin Man didn't 'steal' food after all

The man from Ghent who was convicted of stealing muffins from a supermarket refuse container has been acquitted by the appeal court. Earlier a judge handed down a six months suspended sentence.

Steven De Geynst, a 51-year-old, came to prominence as the Muffin Man when he took muffins that had been thrown away from a refuse container belonging to a GB supermarket in Ruppelmonde and was prosecuted.

Supermarket staff stopped him when he tried to ride off on his bike with the muffins. Police attended the scene and De Geynst was detained. The Muffin Man faced charges of theft involving violence because he resisted efforts by supermarket staff to restrain him.

Last year De Geynst was sentenced to a six months suspended sentence by a judge in Dendermonde. In court he argued that people should be allowed to take food that is being thrown away.

The Ghent appeal court ruled that no crime had been committed because many years earlier de Geynst had received permission from the supermarket manager to remove food from refuse containers.