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Prolific Newbury shoplifter Emma Alexander defied court order

A WOMAN with 60 previous convictions has been caught shoplifting… again.

The 34-year-old had said she was turning over a new leaf.

Reading Magistrates Courts
Reading Magistrates Courts

But, when she saw a scent she liked in the Camp Hopson store in Northbrook Street, Newbury, she decided to steal it.

Emma Alexander had hoped for a fine to be deducted from her benefits – and she hid her head in her hands when told she would have to engage with the probation service again instead.

Chad Echakowitz, prosecuting at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, November 9, said Ms Alexander, of Spackman Close, Thatcham, entered the store around 1.45pm on Tuesday, August 15.

He added: “She was seen to put a fragrance in her top, then tried to leave without paying.

“A store detective then alerted staff.”

Ms Alexander initially tried to brazen it out, the court heard, and insisted she had stolen nothing.

However, eventually she admitted her guilt when police arrived.

Mr Echakowitz added: “She said she had been starting afresh and was ashamed of herself.”

Ms Alexander admitted stealing fragrance worth £73.

As well as her multiple previous convictions, she admitted breaching a conditional discharge imposed for her penultimate shoplifting offence.

Tim Williamson, defending, said: “She offers an apology and says she should have known better.

“She is taking steps to turn her life around and is taking a hairdressing course.”

District judge Samuel Goozee asked why Ms Alexander had decided to steal the fragrance, adding: “Is there some underlying issue causing her to steal?”

Mr Williamson replied: “None that she has told me.

“It was just an impulsive thing – she saw the perfume; she liked the perfume and so she put it in her top.

“She does have quite a prolific offending record but it’s starting to slow down.”

He tried to persuade Judge Goozee to sentence his client by way of a financial penalty which could be deducted in stages from her benefits.

And Ms Alexander chipped in: “I’ve been doing clean drug tests.”

But Judge Goozee said: “Your record of offending is a matter for concern.

“You have an unattractive history of committing shoplifting offences.”

Ms Alexander held her face in her hands momentarily as he made her subject to a six month community order with supervision requirement and up to 10 rehabilitation activity requirement days.

In addition Ms Alexander was excluded from the Camp Hopson store for the duration of the order.

Finally, she was required to pay £85 costs plus a statutory victim services surcharge of £114.

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