Serial thief's curfew is lifted for Christmas Day - as no shops will be open for her to steal from

Melissa Sloanes has had the conditions of her curfew varies so she can celebrate Christmas and attend the birth of her grandchild.
Melissa Sloanes has had the conditions of her curfew varies so she can celebrate Christmas and attend the birth of her grandchild.
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A serial shoplifter's latest punishment is a curfew to keep her at home every evening - which she is allowed to break so she can celebrate on Christmas Day.

Melissa Sloanes, who has more than 130 previous convictions, including 59 for shoplifting, is also allowed to forget her two-month night-time house arrest to attend the birth of her grandchild.

The 32-year-old gran-to-be was already on a suspended prison sentence, a conditional discharge and a community order when she stole E-cigarette oil worth £25 and £35 from two city centre shops in Sunderland in September and November.

Judge Paul Sloan QC told Newcastle Crown Court he had considered imposing an 18-month jail term when he first considered Sloanes' case, but reconsidered in the light of the "real progress" she has made.

He said Sloanes could be given "one last chance" and sentenced her to a community order with a punishment element of a two-month curfew from 6pm to 6am.

Sloanes' barrister Paul Cross asked the judge if the serial thief would be allowed to attend Sunderland hospital to be with her daughter at the birth - and to celebrate Christmas Day by being allowed out on the streets.

Mr Cross said: "Her daughter is due to give birth in the next seven days and she would like to be able to give her support.

"On Christmas Day offending is not possible because the shops are all shut. I would invite you to make an exception for Christmas."

Judge Sloan agreed to the exceptions and said Sloanes, of no fixed address, can attend the birth and can stay out as late as she wants celebrating Christmas Day.

The judge ordered to Sloanes to pay a £50 fine for breach of the suspended sentence.

He said: "If she is not at the address that will be logged. She will need to satisfy the authorities she was at the birth. There is that one exception and also Christmas Day."