Vulnerable woman forced to steal food from Boldon Asda after having money taken by others, court told

A vulnerable woman swiped food from Asda in a late night theft in desperation after having her money taken by people living in her street.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 7:40 am
The offence took place at the Boldon Colliery Asda store

Amie Cook, 36, took £104 from the retailer’s Boldon Colliery store after allegedly being targeted close to her home in Bewick Street, Chichester, South Shields.

She was seen taking items from the shelf, evading the checkouts and leaving at 10pm on Thursday, October 8 – and was stopped by security.

Her solicitor Alanna Wesencraft said Cook, who had not offended for five years and has a limited criminal record, had stolen only because of her targeting by others.

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Magistrates in South Tyneside agreed - and said they accepted she had taken food to feed herself and not for financial gain.

Prosecutor Leanne Duffy told the hearing: “At 10pm the defendant entered the store and put various food items into a trolley.

“She passes the payment point and tries to exit the store. She made no attempt to pay and she is detained by security. All goods were recovered.”

Mrs Wesencraft said: “I would ask you to give full credit for an early guilty plea.

“We have emailed the Crown Prosecution Service to ask them to consider a caution, she would be eligible.

“They simply said they would summon her to court, hence the guilty plea.

“It’s a shame that this was not dealt with outside of court because this is a lady who hasn’t been before the court since 2015, and before that it was 2004.

“She is moving in the right direction. This is the situation where this lady would not have troubled this court had she not had money taken from her by people targeting her.

“People in her street have targeted her, she has vulnerabilities, she has had money taken.”

Magistrates told Cook, who pleaded guilty to theft from a shop, they had taken into account her last offence was six years ago.

They also said they recognised she is vulnerable and had taken food for herself and not to sell.

She was handed a 12-month conditional discharge, with £85 court costs and a £22 victim surcharge.

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