A woman’s “trolley dash” theft of more than £200 worth of unpaid groceries was stopped in its tracks by an off-duty policeman.
The officer recognised Debra Hughes (49) as she headed out of Tesco in Bourne because he dealt with her for a similar offence only three months previously.
Paul Wood, prosecuting, said Hughes was still serving an 18-month conditional discharge when she took goods worth £226 on June 28.
He said the off duty policeman was suspicious because none of the items in her trolley were wrapped.
Spalding magistrates on Thursday fined Hughes £165 and ordered her to pay £85 costs and a £20 victim surcharge.
Hughes, of Marholme Road, Peterborough, admitted theft and breach of a conditional discharge.
The conditional discharge will continue, which means Hughes will be sentenced for her original shop theft if she commits another crime.
Solicitor Gordon Holt, mitigating, said the theft offence is colloquially known as “a trolley dash”.
Hughes had been through a series of personal difficulties, including losing her parents, being diagnosed with breast cancer and a relative getting into trouble with police.
Mr Holt said she became depressed and “began self-medicating with alcohol”.
Hughes lost her grip of household finances, debts began to accrue and rather than speak to her husband about it she borrowed money “from some people akin to loan sharks”.
She sought help for her alcohol problem, spoke to her husband about a £500 debt, which he paid, and together they are working through the problems.