A NEWBURY woman used her apparent disability in order to shoplift hundreds of pounds worth of Christmas gifts.
Tina Marie Benson and two accomplices raided the Boots store at the Newbury Retail Park in Pinchington Lane, stuffing expensive toiletries under her wheelchair blanket.
On Thursday, February 9, Reading magistrates heard how her accomplices had deserted and left her to face the consequences alone.
Helen Gambrill, prosecuting, said: “This defendant was in a wheelchair being pushed by two males.
“Between the three of them, they took various perfume gift sets and put them in bags on the chair.”
She added: “This defendant then hid the items under her wheelchair blanket and they all left, making no attempt to pay. The items were never recovered.”
Upon being arrested, the 39-year-old, of The Nightingales, gave a “no comment” interview, the court heard.
But CCTV footage clearly showed her shoving the boxes and parcels underneath her blanket.
Ms Benson admitted stealing perfume gift sets, together worth £243.50, on December 6 last year.
She has previous convictions, but none for shoplifting, magistrates were told.
Mike Davis, defending, said: “It’s clear that three people were involved in this offence but she has chosen, for whatever reasons, not to identify the two males involved.
“So she has been left to face the music alone.
“She has mobility issues which do, sometimes, involve being in a wheelchair.”
He added: “You’ll note that it was nearly Christmas and the nature of the items stolen.
“But when they all entered the store she didn’t know what they were going to do.
“However, at some point she did realise what was going on and she did nothing to stop them. She went along with it.”
Mr Davis said his client, who relies on state benefits, had not received any money from the sale of the ill-gotten gains and went on: “She has not benefitted in any way and she has been left to face the consequences on her own.”
After retiring to confer, magistrates fined Ms Benson £110.
In addition she was ordered to pay £85 costs plus a statutory victim services surcharge of £30.
Finally, Ms Benson was ordered to pay the full amount of compensation – £243.50 – to Boots at Newbury Retail Park.