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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

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Judge gives 'darned nuisance' shoplifter one last chance

A persistent woman shoplifter has been given a month to stay out of trouble – or face jail again.

Kerry McAvoy – described by a judge at Carlisle Crown Court as “a darned nuisance” – has numerous convictions for petty thefts on her record and has been jailed several times.

But Judge Peter Hughes QC said there was no point just locking her up for a short time just so she could be released and do the same thing all over again.

“She can’t go on like this and neither can the courts,” he said. “Something has got to be done to break the pattern.”

McAvoy, 30, of Falcon Place, Workington, was arrested on April 11 after she set off the alarms at a superstore.

A security guard chased her out of the store and across the car park, where police took her into custody.

In court, McAvoy pleaded guilty to burgling the pharmacy with intent to steal and to possessing a small amount of amphetamine which was found in her underwear when police searched her.

Defence barrister Marion Weir said McAvoy had not gone into the store specifically to raid the pharmacy.

“She was there because it’s a store she would on occasion go into to shoplift from, and it was only on impulse that she went into the pharmacy,” she said.

Ms Weir said that since the offence McAvoy had committed a further theft and been jailed for it.

Judge Hughes adjourned the case until October 1 for sentencing. He told her this gave her a month to prove she could go straight.

“It gives you time to demonstrate that you can comply with the orders of the court and keep out of trouble,” he said.

“I will take very much into account how you have performed in the period between now and then.

“And I am giving you a solemn promise that if you commit any offences during that period you will lose your liberty – and you will lose it for a much longer period than you have in the past.”

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