Grieving Sunderland mum turned to theft to pay off loan shark funeral debt

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A GRIEVING mum turned to theft after borrowing from a loan shark to fund her son’s funeral.

Sharon Prentice, from Hendon in Sunderland, was arrested after stealing four perfume gift sets and joints of meat.

Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard that the 45-year-old was re-paying a debt to a doorstep lender.

Paul Anderson, prosecuting, said Prentice stole £99 worth of gift sets from Boots in the Bridges, Sunderland, on November 28.

She fled the shop, but was arrested when she tried to shoplift from there again the next day.

The bench heard she also stole £72 worth of meat from Asda in Washington.

Prentice, of Donnison Gardens, pleaded guilty to the three offences.

Mr Anderson added that she had a “fairly horrific record”, with 121 similar offences.

Tom Morgan, mitigating, said the 45-year-old was now clean after a long history of using drugs.

He said: “She was sent to take the goods by a male she owes money to.

“On August 20, her son Robert, who was not unfamiliar within the court, passed away after taking a cocktail of various drugs.

“I think this resulted in him having a fit. I believe that was the coroner’s result.

“Sharon could not afford to give him the funeral he deserved and unfortunately, she got herself into debt with a man who not a bank and is not a lender in any capacity.

“He has been taking her around various locations and inviting her to settle the debt another way.”

District Judge Roger Elsey released Prentice on bail. She will be sentenced on January 22.