Jail for serial thief who has 187 crimes on her record

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A SERIAL thief who stole thousands of pounds-worth of luxury goods has been jailed.

Kimberley Whitehead, of Whitchurch Road, Witherwack, stole Champagne, perfume, handbags and laptops in six separate thieving sprees around the North East.

The 31-year-old was caught on CCTV stealing a laptop from Curry’s in Durham on February 11 this year.

The court heard on February 20, she stole two Netbook computers from Staples in Sunderland after unplugging their USB security alarms, placing them into her bag and walking out of the shop.

The next day, she was caught stealing £207-worth of Champagne in Morrisons after placing the bottles into her shoulder bag and attempting to leave the shop.

She was arrested on February 22 by police who identified her from the CCTV footage and she made a full admission to the theft charges before being released, pending a court hearing.

However, despite being on bail Whitehead did not stop her crime spree. Days later on February 28, she stole bottles of perfume worth £481 from Boots the Chemist in Chester-le-Street. She also stole a handbag from Debenhams in South Shields on March 8.

On March 15, Whitehead took a taxi back to the same Debenhams store and it waited outside for her while she went into the shop and stole 15 bottles of perfume and nine handbags, worth £1,473.

She got back into the taxi, which was tracked and stopped by police.

Whitehead was arrested and charged with a further three counts of theft and one charge of failure to surrender after a warrant was put out for her arrest.

She pleaded guilty to six counts of theft in total, as well as the charge of failure to surrender at an earlier hearing at Sunderland Magistrates’ Court.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that Whitehead already has 39 convictions for 187 offences on her record, 82 of those being for theft.

Victor Ward, defending, said: “I’m afraid it is a story we have heard many times before – she is a drug addict forced to shoplift in order to keep up with her habit.

“She has been on three or four occasions the subject of drug rehabilitation orders.

“She has been to prison a great many times before and that hasn’t worked. She was last released from prison in January.

“Her problem was, as it always has been in the past, that she is in a community of people who take drugs and take alcohol.

“She is now motivated to kick her drug habit.

“She is without question in a revolving door situation. Something has to happen to stop her continuing to take drugs.”

Jailing her for two years, Mr Recorder Duncan Smith said: “I’ve read about your life and your addiction to drugs, but if you can’t help yourself then I can’t help you either.”

@SunderlandEcho