Shoplifter swigged liquid morphine as she walked round Debenhams in Sunderland

A shoplifter was caught wandering around a Sunderland department store swigging from a bottle of liquid morphine and carrying £1,300 of cash.

Friday, 5th January 2018, 7:03 am
Updated Friday, 5th January 2018, 7:05 am
Debenhams in The Bridges.

Joanne Stokoe, 44, helped herself to perfume which she concealed as she walked about in Debenhams, in The Bridges, on December 13, South Tyneside magistrates heard.

Prosecutor Paul Anderson said: “She accepts the situation when she is apprehended in the shop.

“She says ‘I’ve just taken morphine, I just need to pay for it’.

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“The fact that she has taken morphine would suggest there is an underlying problem.”

Stokoe, of Cragside, Chester-le-Street, pleaded guilty to theft on the basis that she had only taken £227.50 of perfume, despite being found with a further bottle of fragrance and items of clothing.

She is in breach of two conditional discharges imposed for thefts, the court was told.

Tony Southwick, defending, said: “The medication is prescribed for a medical condition, nothing to do with an underlying problem. She has a slipped disc.

“What drew the attention of the security staff was her morphine patches and that she was walking around the shop drinking liquid morphine from the bottle.

“She’s gone out on this occasion with £1,300 in her possession. She had taken too much of her medication. She had taken liquid morphine on top of other things.

“This is what she means when she said ‘I’ve taken my morphine I can pay for it’.”

The bench asked for a pre-sentence report to be prepared and Stokoe will be sentenced on January 19.