Meat thief faces jail over raids on B&M and Co-op branches in Washington

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A woman faces a possible jail sentence for pinching at least £781 of meat and household products to sell to fund her heroin addiction.

Magistrates in South Tyneside ordered an all-options report into Maxine Horn’s offending – opening the door to a jail term.

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Horn, 39, of Sulgrave Road, Sulgrave, Washington, targeted two town branches of the Co-op and B&M six times in five weeks in March and April.

The Probation Service told the hearing Horn had admitted in interview she had struck in a bid to get cash to buy the hard drug.

It also said she had mental health issues that needed to be assessed before she could return to the same court to be sentenced.

Magistrates adjourned the case for reports and granted her bail on condition she does not enter either branch.

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Horn first struck at B&M on Saturday, March 9, taking £336 of meat and laundry products – and returned the same day to take £141 of meat.

On Sunday, March 17, she made off with £150 of detergent and £85 of meat during two thefts from the same Co-op branch.

And on Sunday, March 31, she went back to the same store to swipe £69 of meat, and again on Friday, April 12, pilfered an unknown amount of meat.

Prosecutor Sarah Malkinson said: “The total is less than £1,000. It can be dealt with by this court.”

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Appearing in the dock, Horn pleaded guilty to six counts of theft from a shop.

Sandra Fife, defending, made no representation to the court.

Magistrates ordered Horn be assessed as to her suitability to be placed on mental health and drug rehabilitation programmes, and she will be sentenced on Thursday, May 16.

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