Hailsham: Mum stole to help pay nursery fees

A HARD-UP mum stole trolley loads of shopping from a supermarket so she could sell it to pay her special needs daughter’s nursery fees.

Wendy Cox pleaded guilty to three counts of shoplifting when she appeared at Eastbourne Magistrates Court on Friday – and also admitted pilfering from the Co-op store on a fourth occasion.

The 32 year old went to the Heathfield Co-op with old bags, used them to fill her trolley with before leaving the store under the guise of a normal, paying customer.

Heather Salvage, prosecuting, said Cox’s hauls often included large amount of alcohol, adding that, “On one occasion she also took a television worth £400.

“When she was interviewed (following her arrest) she said she needed the money for council tax and her daughter’s school fees (and that) her daughter suffers from hearing problems.

“She said she only planned to do it once but as she got away with it she went to do it again.”

Noelle McGuiness, defending, said Cox had been driven to desperate measures by the current economic climate and had previously run her own business.

She told the court, “She has been moved into a bigger property and has struggled to pay the bills,” before explaining that her daughter, who is coming up to three years old, needs to attend a costly special nursery because of severe learning difficulties.

“Things had just got out of control,” she added.

“She has since been able to get more support with her daughter and some help with her debt problem.

“She has been very stressed and anxious about these proceedings and is embarrassed to be in court.

“She does not want to come before the court again.”

Cox, of Ashley Gardens in Amberstone, Hailsham, told the court she wanted to be punished and put something back into the community having broken the law.

And magistrates gave her the chance to do so, ordering her to complete 100 hours of unpaid work manning the counter at a local charity shop. She was also told to pay £85 in court costs.