Struggling thief targeted shops after hubby was forced to return to Tunisia

Chesterfield magistrates' court.
Chesterfield magistrates' court.

A thief, struggling financially after her husband was forced to go back to Tunisia, targeted three shops during a shoplifting spree.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Tuesday, January 3, how Tracey Jane Elizabeth Jacques, 50, of West Street, Doe Lea, Chesterfield, struck at Revolve clothing store, Marks and Spencer and Poundworld in Chesterfield town centre.

Prosecuting solicitor Becky Allsop said: “There was CCTV at Revolve and Jacques was seen putting items of clothing worth £17 into a trolley and she left without paying.

“A PCSO recognised Jacques from the CCTV footage and by chance that same officer saw Jacques in Marks and Spencer’s and approached her while she had a bag with various items in it and she had concealed pizzas in her clothing and said you might as well have these and she handed over £5 of groceries from Poundworld.”

Jacques, who has a number of previous theft convictions, pleaded guilty to the theft of £17 worth of clothing from Revolve, on The Pavements, on November 15, 2016, and pleaded guilty to stealing groceries from Marks and Spencer worth £11.50 on December 13, 2016.

She also admitted stealing groceries from Poundworld on December 13, 2016, valued at £5.

Defence solicitor Denny Lau explained Jacques is married to a non-UK citizen and had learned that she is not entitled to certain benefits and she subsequently received an £800 bill which left her short of money.

The court heard how Jacques’ husband has gone back to Tunisia and Jacques is fighting a legal battle through the courts so her husband can come back and live in this country.

Mr Lau said: “It’s very sad to see this lady back before the court because her last conviction was some years ago.

“She’s been happily married but in recent months it’s been established that her husband is not a UK citizen and she has learned she is not entitled to benefits and she has received an £800 bill to cover arrears.

“She was short of money and she stole the items not to sell on but for her own use.”

Mr Lau added that Jacques now has an arrangement to pay off her debt with the local authority and described the shoplifting as a “one-off” by someone willing to change.

Magistrates sentenced Jacques to an 18-month conditional discharge but she was warned that if she commits another offence she will be re-sentenced for the three thefts along with any new crime.

She was also ordered to pay £85 costs, a £20 victim surcharge and £17 compensation.