‘DESPERATE’ PAIR SEEN STEALING
Shoplifters stopped by superstore staff
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.