Drunken soap thieves used cider as cover in bid to make clean getaway from Hartlepool B&M

B&M
B&M

Two drunken shoplifters stole soap and bought cider in an attempt to get clean away.

Store security guards kept a close eye on Julie Pearson and Donna Stokes as they made their way around B&M Bargains in Hartlepool.

Both women were stopped as they tried to leave the store with the soap hidden in a shopping bag, Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard.

“It was clear both women were intoxicated,” said Emma Cruickshank. prosecuting.

“Store detectives watched them attempt to hide in one of the aisles.

“Pearson opened her shopping bag and Stokes put the packets of soap inside.

“As both women left the shop, they bought some cider.

“Both were stopped as they left the store, and the stolen soap was recovered.”

Pearson, 37, of Miers Avenue, and Stokes, 40, of Windermere Road, both Hartlepool, each admitted theft on July 2.

Pearson has 10 previous convictions, including five offences of theft.

Stokes has 75 previous convictions, including 36 offences of theft.

John Relton, defending both women, said: “The key word in the prosecution opening of the case is ‘intoxicated’.

“They were drunk, they went into the store to get more cider, and made a clumsy and unsophisticated attempt to steal washing gels.

“It was inevitable they would be caught.

“Ms Pearson has kept out of trouble since 2015, and Ms Stokes has not offended in the last 10 months.”

Pearson was given a conditional discharge of 12 months, and ordered to pay fines and costs of £62.50.

Stokes, who the court heard is already on a community order, was ordered to pay fines and costs of £132.50.