Fine for woman who stole goods from Co-op store

A woman has blamed her shoplifting on a change in government benefits.

Joanne Campbell, 33 spent more than two hours selecting items in a Co-op store before leaving without attempting to pay.

Eastbourne magistrates heard the defendant had placed items into her trolley, transferred them into bags and then back again.

She was stopped outside and the goods, worth £137.73, were recovered.

At a hearing at Eastbourne Magistrates Court this week Campbell, of Collingwood Close, pleaded guilty to theft.

Sarah Tate, defending, said her client had problems with her mental health, adding, “It’s completely unsophisticated. She has things in her trolley and a basket with wheels in the trolley.

“It’s bizarre behaviour which attracted the attention of staff.

“What has precipitated the latest offence is there’s been a government change in benefits. She would very much like to work and had been able to work in the past. She relies on benefits.

“She used to receive £150 a week and that is now down to £70 for one of her benefits. It has affected her mental health.

“She doesn’t have the funds to pay for shopping that she used to have.

“It’s a concern financially but predominantly her offending behaviour stems from mental health problems. Her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder affects her on a daily basis. It takes her hours to go from room to room.

“Most of her family are in Switzerland. She’s planning on going out just before Christmas to try and break the cycle of offending and in order to save money.”

Campbell was fined £40 and told to pay a £20 victim surcharge. No order for costs was made.