‘DES­PER­ATE’ PAIR SEEN STEAL­ING

Sho­plifters stopped by su­per­store staff

The Sentinel - - NEWS - Sen­tinel Re­porter news­[email protected]­plc.com

SHOPLIFTING cou­ple Kelvin Cox and Han­nah Hem­mings stole more than £260 worth of food and booze from Asda - but were tracked on CCTV.

Se­cu­rity staff were alerted to the duo after see­ing them in the Tunstall store and work­ers were in­structed to block the exit.

They saw Cox and Hem­mings at­tempt to leave with a trol­ley filled with £268.49 worth of stock which they had not paid for on De­cem­ber 8.

North Stafford­shire Jus­tice Cen­tre heard the cou­ple planned to eat the food and sell the al­co­hol.

Prose­cu­tor Carla Har­ris said: “Both en­tered the store and the se­cu­rity guard watched on CCTV.

“They filled a shop­ping trol­ley, hid sev­eral bot­tles on them­selves, and went past the pay-point. Sev­eral staff stopped them by the exit point and that’s when they were de­tained and all items from that theft were re­cov­ered.”

In her po­lice in­ter­view, 29-yearold Hem­mings first an­swered ‘no com­ment’.

But in a sec­ond in­ter­view she said she went with Cox with the in­ten­tion to steal as they were strug­gling on £20-a-week ben­e­fits.

The court heard that 32-year-old Cox gave po­lice a sim­i­lar ex­pla­na­tion of what had hep­pened.

The prose­cu­tor added: “They had planned to eat the food and sell the bot­tles of wine.”

Hem­mings pleaded guilty to a theft at Tesco, in Han­ley, on Thurs­day, De­cem­ber 20. Mag­is­trates heard she stole Bac­ardi, gin and whiskey and placed them in a car­rier bag be­fore be­ing found by po­lice on Clough Street.

Si­mon Dykes, mit­i­gat­ing, said the cou­ple stole be­cause they are se­ri­ously strug­gling fi­nan­cially.

He said: “This cou­ple have found them­selves in a dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion. The theft was not for a drug ad­dic­tion, this is a sit­u­a­tion where they were des­per­ate.

“They stole items to sell to pay for gas and elec­tric­ity.”

Com­ment­ing on Hem­mings’ theft at Tesco, Mr Dykes added: “She was strug­gling fi­nan­cially and Christ­mas was com­ing and she needed some­thing for Christ­mas.”

The of­fences put the pair, of Cose­ley Street, Smallthorne, in breach of con­di­tional dis­charges.

Both de­fen­dants were handed 12-month com­mu­nity or­ders. They must both pay a £50 fine and £85 vic­tim sur­charge.

THEFT: In­set are sho­plifters Kelvin Cox and Han­nah Hem­mings, who stole from Tunstall’s Asda, above, and Tesco in Han­ley.

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