TWO shoplifting sisters are behind bars after blowing a final chance to keep their freedom.
Tara and Carrie Ann Ellis, who have clocked up more than 140 criminal convictions between them, were jailed for 12 months yesterday for repeatedly helping themselves from shops.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the pair were already in the “last chance saloon” after being given suspended sentences for stealing electric sockets and meat last year.
Mr Recorder Richard Woolfall told them both: “I am quite sure you were left in no uncertain terms that that was the last chance saloon you were drinking in.
“Unhappily, you have gone on, each of you, to commit further offences of shoplifting.
“Each of you understand, if you go and commit offences like this, you have got to pay for it in the long term.”
The court heard on February 9, the sisters were spotted stealing £173 worth of alcohol from Asda in Sunderland.
On August 27, the siblings were caught taking £116 worth of stationery and toys from Argos in the city.
Tara Ellis, 33, of Hendon Burn Avenue, Sunderland, admitted the two theft charges as well as stealing 12 cans of Fosters worth £10 from a local shop.
She has 100 previous convictions, mostly for dishonesty and motoring offences.
Carrie Ann Ellis, 35, of Balmoral Terrace, Grangetown, Sunderland, admitted the two theft charges as well as stealing meat from a Co-op shop.
She has 41 previous offences against her name.
Two men involved in the alcohol theft from Asda were given suspended prison terms.
The court heard the Ellis sisters have had drug problems which both have made efforts to overcome. Julian Smith, defending the younger sister, said: “There is no sophistication here. I can’t say anything other than she is a persistent shoplifter.”
Jamie Adams, defending the older sister, said: “It is the fact they are doing it together, repetition and persistence is the irritating thing and the aggravating thing.”
The defence barristers had urged the judge to give the sisters a chance to prove they can continue making efforts to turn their lives around.