Magistrates show sympathy to prolific thief

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A PROLIFIC thief escaped a custodial sentence after magistrates heard she was trying hard to turn her life around.

Lyndsey Potts, 31, who has a long criminal record with more than 100 offences recorded against her, brought cans of dog food from McColls minimarket and went through the tills legitimately to pay for them.

But later a shop assistant noticed that food stuffs she had remembered putting out on display had now gone, prosecutor Katy Beattie told the Wigan and Leigh court.

Staff studied closed circuit television and saw that Potts - who was known to another member of the shop staff - had in fact stolen more than £33 of food items.

Potts made no attempt to deny the theft when questioned by police.

She explained that she had sold the items for £15 and put the money towards a domestic gas bill she had been unable to afford.

Kevin Liston, defending, said that Potts had fought a long battle against heroin abuse but was now controlling the habit successfully with a methadone prescription.

She had suffered a number of blows in her life but was now “working very hard” to improve things.

Potts was about to start a job at a Leigh fast food restaurant and her 11-year-old son, who had been given up for fostering, had now asked for monthly contact meetings with her.

He described the shoplifting as an “isolated blip” which wouldn’t happen again.

Potts, of Devonshire Road, Atherton, who was also now in breach of two conditional discharge orders for earlier theft offences, was given a 30-day prison sentence suspended for the next 12 months.

She was also ordered to pay a total of £213 in prosecution costs, victim surcharge and compensation.