Hartlepool woman stole to buy food after benefit delay

Hartlepool Law Courts, incorporating Hartlepool Magistrates' Court.
Hartlepool Law Courts, incorporating Hartlepool Magistrates' Court.

A woman stole bedding and a wall clock to get money for food.

Sandra Douglas stuffed the items into two carrier bags and left the Wilkinson’s store in Middleton Grange shopping centre, Hartlepool, without paying, the town’s magistrates’ court heard.

Hartlepool Magistrates were told Douglas, who has previous convictions for theft, had three weeks where she did not get any benefits as they were being assessed.

The court heard she planned to keep the bedding but sell the rest.

“She was seen on CCTV,” said Alison Howey, prosecuting. “A security guard stopped her outside the store.

“She admitted the offence to police, telling them she was going to keep the bedding and sell the other things.”

Douglas, 48, of Ivy Grove, Hartlepool, admitted theft on August 3.

The court heard Douglas has “several” previous convictions for similar offences.

Andrew Teate, defending, said in mitigation: “There was a three-week gap while Ms Douglas’s benefits were assessed.

“During this time she received no money, but needed money to put food on the table.

“Her benefits have now restarted, going from £100 a fortnight to £120 a fortnight.

“She is in a better financial position now than when the offence was committed.”

Douglas was ordered to pay £285 in fines and costs.

The money will be deducted from her benefits at £5 a week.