Woman is sent to jail for shoplifting

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A BELPER woman with a drug problem has been locked up for a string of thefts linked to her addiction.

Rachel Phipps, 21, appeared before magistrates at Chesterfield on Wednesday and admitted six offences of shoplifting.

John Cooper, prosecuting, said she stole meat from Sainsbury’s at Ripley on December 29 and spirits from supermarkets in Ripley and Alfreton on January 16 and 26 respectively.

He told the court that a worker at Hartshay Hill service station was suspicious about Phipps’ behaviour in the shop on January 22. He watched her on CCTV and saw her steal a bottle of wine.

Phipps was in further trouble on February 10 when she was seen putting a £350 computer into a bag and leaving the HMV store in Derby without paying for it.

“She was detained outside and searched and several bottles of perfume were found inside her handbag.

“She admitted she had stolen them from Debenhams at the Westfield Centre in Derby the previous day.

“She said she had a £40-a-day heroin addiction and no money, and she stole to fund her habit,” said Mr Cooper, adding that Phipps had used a foil-lined bag in a bid to evade store alarms.

Phipps, of Marsh Lane Crescent, Belper, further admitted two bail offences and breaching an 18-month conditional discharge imposed on December 21 for theft.

“She was stealing again within days of that being imposed,” said Mr Cooper.

Presiding magistrate David Sobjack locked her up for a total of 16 weeks.

“She found herself homeless and she got in with the wrong crowd and started doing drugs. She had a heroin problem and she had to go shoplifting on a daily basis,” said James Close, for Phipps.

“She has had no intervention from the probation service. She needs help and is waiting to get a methadone script. She is living with her grandmother, who fully supports her.”