The 60-year-old, best known for his appearances on Ready, Steady, Cook, said: “I am so sorry for all my recent stupid and irresponsible actions; I am of course devastated for my family and friends, whom I’ve let down and will seek the treatment that is clearly needed.

“I am not the first, and I certainly won’t be the last person to do something without rhyme or reason – what went through my head, only time will tell.

“Of course, I must also apologise sincerely to Tesco, with whom I’m had a long and genuine working relationship, and to all the staff at the Henley branch, many of whom I’ve got to know over the years.

“Once again, I am so sorry and hopefully in the future I can make amends.”

Worrall Thompson was arrested on suspicion of theft on Friday. According to The Sun newspaper, he was caught on camera misusing the self-scanning check-out at the Henley-on-Thames branch in Oxfordshire, where he would scan some items and snaffle others into his bags without paying for them.

A source told the tabloid: “He was ordering blocks of cheese at the deli counter, taking bottles of wine, then putting some things through the scanner but walking out with the rest.

“They caught him on camera doing it more than once, but had to be 100 per cent sure it was not a genuine mistake before apprehending him. Because of his high profile, the security staff could not afford to get it wrong.”

Thames Valley Police confirmed that they had issued a formal caution to a 60-year-old man from High Wycombe following a report of shoplifting offences in Tesco, Reading Road, Henley-on-Thames.

In 2009, Worrall Thompson was forced to close four of his six restaurants and make 60 staff redundant after his bank refused to extend his overdraft.