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Persistent Stratford shoplifter handed 16 month jail sentence

Picture courtesy of Google
Picture courtesy of Google

A persistent shoplifter with a ‘well-honed technique’ has been told that, with shops currently facing enough problems, it would not be right to unleash her back on the community.

Lisa Ellington appeared at Warwick Crown Court via a video-link from HMP Peterborough after she had pleaded guilty to burglary, four charges of theft and one of common assault.

Ellington (35) of Drayton Avenue, Stratford, was jailed for a total of 16 months.

Prosecutor Ian Speed said that in September last year Ellington along with a man broke into the Hevans hairdressing salon in Rother Street, Stratford, at night.

They gained access after the man, whose case was being dealt with in the magistrates’ court, put a brick through the window.

Once inside, they put a quantity of electrical items and hair products into a carrier bag – but the police arrived and arrested them before they could make off with their haul.

On December 2, Ellington and the same man went into the TK Maxx store in Stratford armed with a security tag remover which Mr Speed commented ‘suggests it was a professional enterprise.’

Although the de-tagger was found on the man when security staff stopped them outside with handbags and purses worth £467, CCTV cameras showed Ellington using it to remove the security tags from the items.

Ellington reacted aggressively to being challenged, swinging one of the bags at one of the security officers.

But when she was arrested, she claimed she could not remember anything about the incident because she was under the influence of drink or drugs at the time.

Having been released, later in December Ellington went into the Tesco supermarket in Stratford in the early hours of the morning and helped herself to a bottle of Jack Daniels, a bottle of gin, a packet of acid reflux tablets and a jumper.

She wrapped tin foil round the tags in an unsuccessful attempt to beat the store’s security system, and was stopped outside and detained until the police arrived.

Then on February 29, Ellington returned to the Tesco store where a security guard saw her selecting bottles of alcohol and concealing them.

She also stole two scented candles, an inflatable bed and a bar of chocolate, and when she was challenged as she was leaving she kicked out at the security officer and tried to bite his hand.

Mr Speed added that Ellington had 33 convictions for 63 offences, including a number for shoplifting, and at the time of the burglary was subject to a suspended sentence for an earlier theft from TK Maxx.

Appearing via a video conferencing link, Simon Hunka, defending, said: “It is quite clear that Miss Ellington’s problem has been class A drugs, and for quite some time.

“She has had a difficult life, and she was to a degree self-medicating and using it as a coping mechanism, and she found herself having to commit crime to fund her spiralling habit.”

Mr Hunka said Ellington, had been on a Methadone script and until the burglary had not committed an offence since October 2018, ‘which in her life is quite a significant period.’

But then circumstances put temptation in her way, and she began taking drugs again.

Ellington had spent three weeks in custody on remand, and Mr Hunka suggested that, with most shops closed because of the Coronavirus measures and people being told to stay at home, ‘in a strange way this is as good a time as any for her to be given a chance.’

But jailing her, Judge Anthony Potter told Ellington: “I have to sentence you for six offences arising from five separate incidents over a five-month period.

“They all concern shops and premises in Stratford, and two of those were thefts from Tesco, a shop where I am told you are well-known, and the last matter involved an assault on a security guard.

“On at least one occasion you went well-equipped for theft.You were given a chance, and you continued to go on a spree of offending, demonstrating a well-honed technique.

“I can’t see that, at a time when shops have enough problems, it would be right to unleash you on the community.”

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