A shoplifter with dozens of convictions on her criminal record has been jailed after she flouted a court ban designed to keep her out of Carlisle shops.

Paula Tunstall, 41, admitted stealing goods worth £112 when she appeared before the city’s Rickergate court.

But magistrates rejected her plea to be spared a prison sentence because is her mother's carer.

The court heard that Tunstall stole clothes and sunglasses from the city’s Matalan store on April 15.

She was caught after the shop’s manager the defendant walking hurriedly towards the exit.

Staff caught up with her in the car park outside, and recovered the stolen goods.

The shop staff recognised her because she has been named person on the city’s Shopwatch scheme, which aims to protect retail premises from known criminals.

Rachel Dixon, for Tunstall, said the theft was unsophisticated, having been caught on CCTV.

The defendant's offending was motivated by her drug addiction and Tunstall felt that a drug rehabilitation course she was currently on should be allowed to continue.

Commenting on the defendant’s role as a carer, Miss Dixon said: “She feels she’s the only one available to assist with her mother’s needs.”

In 2013, said the lawyer, the defendant was diagnosed with an ear, nose and throat cancer.

District Judge Gerald Chalk imposed a 35-day jail term, noting that Tunstall committed the theft offence while she was on a community order. "This offence occurred while you were on a community order, and it's going badly," said the judge." Tunstall has amassed 34 convictions in the last decade, the court heard.