Sutton woman who stole to buy drugs is jailed

Chesterfield magistrates' court.

Chesterfield magistrates' court.

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A prolific Sutton shoplifter has been jailed after committing “multiple” theft offences to buy drugs just days after being released from prison.

Kerry Anne Shepperd, 42, admitted four theft offences - including stealing hundreds of pounds worth of England football shirts from Sports Direct at Shirebrook - when she appeared at Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, April 14.

During proceedings it was said that Shepperd had a total of 140 previous theft offences on her record.

The court heard that on March 14 this year Shepperd stole five bottles of perfume from Boots in Alfreton worth about £350 and three bottles of the same perfume worth almost £240 the following day.

The next day, this time at the Co-op store in South Normanton, she stole meat to a value unknown.

And on April 13, she stole seven England football shirts from Sports Direct at Shirebrook, worth almost £350.

With regards to the perfume thefts from Boots, Becky Allsop, prosecuting, said: “She was seen that afternoon (March 14) to have picked up five bottles of perfume worth £70 each and put them in her plastic carrier bag. The items were not recovered.”

“The next day she was back again, stealing three bottles of perfume. She left without paying.”

On the thefts from Co-op and Sports Direct, Mrs Allsop said: “On the 16th March at the Co-op in South Normanton, a member of staff describes seeing a female, which was Miss Shepperd, putting some beef steaks into her bag. The staff member asked her to pass the bag back and she did so. She (Shepperd) became upset and said that she was not a thief. CCTV was also viewed and showed she had also taken three or four legs of lamb.

“Yesterday (April 13) at Sports Direct, she had the seven shirts in a foil lined bang and then got into a vehicle. Two members of staff confronted her and she got out and the property was recovered.

“There was some degree of planning in this matter, with the aggravating factor being her appalling record.”

She was sentenced to 14 weeks in prison in January and was released on March 10, just four days before her crime spree began.

Mitigating, Denny Lau, said: “The problems started back in 1991 when was introduced to heroin by her then partner.

“She was in and out of prison and the courts and that was her normal way of life.

“The situation this time is slightly different. She was released in March, at a time when she is most desperate because of money.

“Secondly, It is hard to find somewhere your friends will let you stay.

“She also has nerve damage, following a road traffic collision, which gets worse at times.”

Although Shepperd admitted the four thefts, she disputed the number of meat items that she was said to have stolen. However, the magistrates said that a Newton hearing - a legal hearing used when two sides offer conflicting evidence - was not needed.

Mr Lau went on to say that Shepperd has a 19-year-old daughter who has Asperger’s and is trying to look after her.

“She accepts that some of the money did go on drugs,” Mr Lau added. “There is a lot of issues in her life.”

The probation service said they had tried to help Shepperd with accommodation, but that they could not help her if she was not willing to be compliant and that she’d had “numerous opportunities” to engage with the service.

Sentencing Shepperd, of Mansfield Road, Sutton, leading magistrate John Spon-Smith, said: “You committed multiple offences of shoplifting over a short period of time. You went equipped. You targeted high value goods and the same shops and you have a record of dishonesty.”

Shepperd was sentenced to 24 weeks in jail and ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge.