Shoplifter told to quit or face jail sentence

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A serial shoplifter caught stealing nearly £300 worth of goods from a supermarket has been warned she faces jail if she does it again.

Shamed Suzanne Fleming was stopped by security guards as she tried to leave the Asda store in Grangemouth with her shopping bags on June 21.

At Falkirk Sheriff Court the 48-year-old from 36 Nevis Place, Falkirk, was placed on a community order with the added condition she complete 100 hours of unpaid work in nine months.

Fleming had admitted stealing groceries and miscellaneous items from Asda on May 13 and June 21 and had sentence deferred for reports. Her not guilty pleas to shoplifting from the same shop on May 20, June 2, June 9 and June 15 were accepted.

Sheriff Derek Livingston told her: “You have now been involved in two quite serious theft charges. Any repeat could lead to custody.”

The court was told Fleming was seen acting suspiciously as she appeared to “help” a blind man with his shopping.

Security watched as she put various items in shopping bags. At the till she paid for some but not others and the alarm sounded as she tried to leave with the gentleman.

Fleming told staff she had receipts in her car, but after being allowed to go and get them never came back.

Checks of CCTV footage identified Fleming and the blind man shopping on previous visits, paying for some items and others being left in the trolley and not paid for.

Police were contacted and Fleming was traced and arrested.

Defence lawyer Lynn Swan claimed Fleming was “under stress” at the time of the offences because because she was facing a trial on another matter. She said: “These offences were a result of her deteriorating mental health.”

Sheriff Livingston said: “I don’t seen anything in the report that suggests she is not responsible for her actions. She was suffering from stress, but is that a reason to go shoplifting and do a runner? There’s a bit much being made of her medical condition, but that does not explain her offending.”

He told Fleming: “I accept you were suffering from stress, but don’t accept that’s why you went on a shoplifting spree.”