Shopper held thief for police

A HAVE-A-GO shopper held on to an “aggressive” thief until police arrived.

The customer was in the Sainsbury’s store, in Murray Street, Hartlepool, when Kelly Hedley began to help herself to five jars of coffee from the shelves.

The 34-year-old was approached by a member of staff who asked her to remove the jars from her bag and put them back.

Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court heard the thief refused and carried on filling the bag and then tried to make a dash for the door.

A brave customer saw what had happened and stopped Hedley in her tracks, grabbing her as she was about to head out of the door.

The shopper held on to Hedley until police arrived, despite her attempts to break free and becoming “aggressive”.

Prosecuting, Lilian Atkinson told Hartlepool Magistrate’s Court: “It was 10.20pm, when police received a call from Sainsbury’s saying they had a female detained for shoplifting and was becoming aggressive.

“The caller said she was being detained by a male customer who was assisting the female staff.”

She added: “Hedley had gone into the store, taken a bag out of her pocket and started to fill it with jars of coffee.

“A staff member asked her to place the items back on the shelf but she ignored the request and continued to fill her bag.

“She then attempted to leave when a male customer stepped in to detain her.

“She was then arrested by police and in interview said she would have tried to sell the coffee for money as she was struggling to support her family.”

Hedley, of Murray Street, pleaded guilty to theft on Sunday, February 26.

Mitigating, John Relton said: “My client does have a lengthy record and finances are putting her under pressure to commit these offences.”

Chairman of the bench Barbara Sutherland sentenced Hedley to a six-month community order with six months supervision, banned her from the Sainsbury’s store for six months and ordered her to pay £20 costs.