A MUM and her two daughters stole thousands of pounds of clothes from high street stores and sold them on Facebook.
Dawn Bainbridge and daughter Claire Bainbridge, from West Rainton, were locked up by a crown court judge yesterday for their part in a ‘well planned and professional operation’.
The pair had previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal. Another daughter, Caitlyn Bainbridge, has also pleased guilty to the same charge and will be sentenced next month.
Newcastle Crown Court was told the three stole more than £7,000 of goods from retailers across the North East and Yorkshire from January 1 until June 4 of this year, before selling them on Facebook for less than their value under the business name Designer Goods North East.
The scam was uncovered when a investigator from Next made two test purchases from the Facebook site.
She received the clothes from Caitlyn Bainbridge by post and matched them up with unique store codes on the goods – which revealed they had been stolen.
Police carried out a raid at the family home in The Crescent, and found a haul of clothing worth £6,673.
A total of £1,454 of goods was from Next stores; £641 from House of Fraser stores; £670 from Marks and Spencer; £388 from British Home Stores; £459 from Hollister, £363 of goods from Asda and £259 from M and C stores.
Neil Pallister, prosecuting, said the three were arrested in March and bailed, but when police visited the home on another matter they found the shoplifting scam was still running and found another haul of clothes worth more than £900.
Police also uncovered a list of customers and even a debters’ ledger at their home with names and the amounts owed to them from sales online.
The court was told it was a “well planned, well organised and professional operation” with items taken from stores across the North East and Yorkshire.
Mr Pallister said Claire and Dawn were subject to a four month jail term – suspended for 12 months – for similar offences from October 2013.
David Callan, defending Dawn Bainbridge, said: “She wanted to give her children more material security. That is not an excuse but is the only explanation.
“She has three adult daughters and three boys aged 15, 13 and 11. Their fate decides on the outcome today.
Jamie Adams, defending Claire Bainbridge, said: “It’s a most unfortunate situation for a family to be involved in crime in this way.
“Claire is 21, she has been entrenched in the lifestyle of shop lifting.”
Dawn Bainbridge was also sentenced for seven counts of theft from the Meadowhall retail centre in Sheffield from February 28.
Judge Sean Morris sentenced Dawn Bainbridge to 22 months in prison for the conspiracy to steal offence, plus four months for the shoplifting offences in Sheffield. Her four month prison sentence was also activated, making for a 30 month term.
Claire Bainbridge was given a 16 month jail term for the conspiracy to steal, while her four month suspended sentence was also activated.
The two sentences will run consecutively.
Judge Morris told Dawn Bainbridge: “You are the mother and leader of this family criminal firm.
“People seem to think shoplifting doesn’t matter - well it does matter.
“The outlay from shops on security guards and CCTV cameras is all because people like you can’t keep your grubby hands off property.
“It was a professional outfit and a professional crime means it can’t be a minor sentence.
“You are the villain of the piece. It is down to you that your daughters are in court.”
Claire Bainbridge was also subject to a second suspended sentence from Sunderland Magistrates imposed last year.
Judge Morris told Claire Bainbridge: “You are younger, but not by any stretch of the imagination are you stupid. You knew right from wrong.