Sunderland shoplifter jailed after string of retail park raids

Kelly Connelly
Kelly Connelly
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A PROLIFIC Sunderland shoplifter has been jailed after repeatedly stealing high-value items from retailers around the North East.

Drug addict Kelly Connolly targeted stores on the region’s retail parks stealing hundreds of pounds worth of goods each time, before selling them on for a fraction of their price to fund her habit.

Sunderland Magistrates’ Court heard the 40-year-old was addicted to Class A drugs, which had caused her life to spiral out of control.

Connolly, of Edwin Street, Pallion, pleaded guilty to three charges of theft at the court.

Paul Anderson, prosecuting, told magistrates the mother-of-six was arrested on July 5, when she tried to steal four power drills, worth £359, from B&Q in Trimdon Street, Sunderland. She was seen removing the security tags and barcodes from the items, but left when she realised she was being watched.

Then, on November 14, she took baby accessories from Mothercare at Team Valley, Gateshead.

According to the store the goods were worth £1,504, however Connelly has only admitted stealing £600 worth of items.

Mr Anderson said: “The defendant is seen on CCTV taking a number of items before leaving the store, making good her escape in a motor vehicle. She was traced six days later. She admitted she stole some of the items and sold them to people in public houses and spent the money on drugs.”

On December 10, Connolly took £598 worth of toiletries from Next at Silverlink Retail Park in North Tyneside.

She was arrested two weeks later when she returned and was recognised by a police officer.

Kate Meek, mitigating, said prison is currently the best place for Connolly.

She added: “It’s the only realistic opportunity, the only way the chaos is going to slow down.

“She has a large number of previous convictions for theft, which stems from her addiction to Class A drugs. She steals because that’s the only way she can fund that addiction.” Connolly was given a community order with six months’ drug treatment in October after stealing £542 worth of gift sets, mascara and aftershave from Boots at Silverlink. She also pleaded guilty to breaching that and a curfew, imposed after another theft in October. Magistrates jailed her for six months.