Didn’t recall shop thefts

A homeless woman with mental health problems stole items she didn’t need from shops and couldn’t recall doing it.

Solicitor Mike Alexander said Jenny Coombes was living in a tent when she stole washing detergent and had no way of using it.

She didn’t recall stealing men’s hooded tops from a shop in Spalding’s town centre but recognised herself on CCTV footage.

Mr Alexander told Spalding magistrates on Thursday that Coombes had been diagnosed with emotional instability personality disorder.

“She has been crying out for help for some time,” he said.

He said she couldn’t explain why she stole and couldn’t recall committing the offences.

Mr Alexander said Coombes considered suicide by throwing herself under a car on the A17, but drew back because she “didn’t want the driver to feel upset about what happened”.

He said Coombes was still living on the streets.

Coombes (27) pleaded guilty to stealing clothes worth £35.41 from Spalding’s Store 21 on December 6, stealing ten hooded tops worth £160 from Peacocks on February 12 and stealing two bottles of detergent worth £5 from The One Stop Shop in West End, Holbeach, on April 2.

She admitted the offences put her in breach of a conditional discharge imposed for shop theft.

Magistrates sentenced Coombes to a year-long community order with supervision by probation.

She must pay £40 compensation towards the cost of items stolen from Peacocks.

The court made no order for costs and waived the victim surcharge because of her limited finances.

Rebecca Ritson, prosecuting, said police interviewed Coombes after she stole children’s clothes from Store 21.

Coombes told police: “Sorry. I just can’t help myself. I don’t know why I did it.”

She also admitted the later offences when police interviewed her.

Miss Ritson said the conditional discharge was imposed for theft of groceries worth £12.37 from Sainsbury’s last year.

Coombes told police then: “I admit it. I just wanted something to eat. Sorry for wasting your time.”