Mum stole from cancer charity

Sandra Douglas pictured leaving Hartlepool Magistrates Court.
Sandra Douglas pictured leaving Hartlepool Magistrates Court.

A DESPICABLE thief snatched a pair of trousers from the rails of a cancer charity shop for her son – but when he turned his nose up at the stolen garment she binned them.

Cold-hearted mum Sandra Douglas ran into the Marie Curie Cancer Care shop, in York Road, Hartlepool, and swiped the jogging bottom-style trousers from the hanger before running off.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard that the 45-year-old had stolen the £4 item of clothing for her son but he did not like them and they did not fit, so she threw them away.

Today a spokeswoman for the charity – which raises money to give high quality care to cancer victims at the end of their life –said the fact that the trousers cost £4 is irrelevant. It is the “principle” of what Douglas did in depriving such an organisation of valuable funds.

Kath Trotter, Marie Curie area shop manager for the North-East, said: “Marie Curie Cancer Care relies on the income from its Hartlepool shop to help provide free nursing care to terminally ill people and support for their families.

“We’re very grateful for any donations we receive from the public and take any incidents of theft extremely seriously.

“Our teams do everything they can to ensure that every donation and every penny raised goes towards ensuring people get the care and support they need at the end of their lives.”

Douglas, who lives in Ivy Grove, in the Dyke House area of Hartlepool, appeared before justices and pleaded guilty to the theft from February 7.

Prosecuting, Alan Davison said: “The defendant went into the store and selected the trousers from a rail. She left without paying and when police identified who she was she was later interviewed.

“She had bought the trousers for her son. Her son, however, didn’t like the look of them and they didn’t fit so they were thrown away effectively.”

Her solicitor, John Relton, in mitigation, told the court, that Douglas was ashamed of what she had done and expressed her remorse through him.

He said: “I would like to apologise on behalf of my client. She’s ashamed of what she’s done given the ownership and purpose of the shop. Fortunately you are in a position to rectify the loss to this charity shop and can impose full compensation so there will be no effect on it in any shape or form.”

He added: “She’s had a difficult life and has been in the court system many times. She has often been blighted with drug consumption but her life has settled down in that she’s moved out of her accommodation in the Raby Road area which is now due for demolition. She’s on low levels of methadone and she’s enjoying life, something which she hasn’t always done.

“I hope you accept her sincere remorse expressed through me.”

Chairman of the bench John Taylor fined her £70, ordered her to pay a £20 victim surcharge and ordered her to pay £4 compensation to Marie Curie Cancer Care.