Thief jailed after she assaulted Aldi store worker

A bungling Washington thief who assaulted an Aldi employee when her bid to steal meat embarrassingly backfired is starting a new jail term.

Victoria Dawson, 41, was given a nine-week stretch for her attack and theft crime at the retailer’s store in the town’s Armstrong Road.

Red-faced Dawson, of Donvale Road, Donwell, was caught when her carrier bag snapped, spilling her £56 of ill-gotten gains.

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When confronted by staff, the serial offender retaliated by lashing out and hitting her victim in the face on Wednesday, May 25.

Victoria Dawson.

Magistrates in South Tyneside heard she has 76 previous convictions from 233 offences, mainly for theft but also for battery.

She was subject to post-sentence supervision when she commited her latest offences, having been freed from a 10-week prison term in March.

Prosecutor Gurjot Kaur said: “The defendant has entered Aldi and selected items, placing them in a bag.

“Staff have noticed that her bag has snapped, and items have fallen out. She had made no attempt to pay.

“When approached and challenged, she was described as lashing out, and that’s where she made contact with the staff member’s face.”Ms Kaur said Dawson pleaded not guilty to a common assault charge but was found guilty after failing to attend her trial.

She added: “CCTV footage was played in court and the complainant was found to be creditable.

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“She did grab and push the defendant, but this was in an effort to remove her from the store, due to the defendant’s aggressive demeanour towards staff.”

Dawson also pleaded guilty to theft and admitted breaching the supervision order, and failing to surrender to custody on Friday, September 9.

Chris Wilson, defending, urged magistrates to suspend any prison sentence, telling them Dawson wanted to mend her criminal ways.

He added: “Ms Dawson is a lady who suffers from anxiety and depression, and has mental health issues.”

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Magistrates jailed Dawson, who owes the courts almost £3,000 in fines and costs, for eight weeks for assault and four weeks for theft, to run concurrently.

She was given a concurrent one-week sentence for breaching post-sentence supervision, and a week consecutive for absconding, with £100 compensation.

There were no court costs.