A woman has admitted being part of a plot to break into a Tesco superstore on the edge of Norwich under the cover of darkness.

Thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused when thieves forced open the doors at the Harford Bridge store in the early hours of February 24. 

Norwich Magistrates Court was told Alexis Melville, 44, was among those who planned to raid the closed supermarket.

Rima Bejum, prosecuting, said once they had forced their way inside they had initially attempted to open the tills but after finding they were locked they turned their attention to the cigarette display units.

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Melville and others later returned armed with tools that they used to pry open check-out tills, she added.  

The court was told the value of items stolen and the cost of the damage they had caused ran into the thousands.

Melville, of Jewson Road, Norwich, previously pleaded guilty in May to burglary and failing to provide a sample for a drug test after she was arrested on March 1. 

A man who is one of her co-defendants is due to be sentenced at Norwich Crown Court for his part in the break-in and other offences. 

Eastern Daily Press: Thousands of pounds of damage was caused at thieves forced their way into the store in the early hoursThousands of pounds of damage was caused at thieves forced their way into the store in the early hours (Image: Newsquest)

Andrew Spence, mitigating, said she had been under duress at the time of the offences and had been “bullied and intimidated” by others into taking part. 

“She accepts she should not have gone along with it and is very remorseful,” he added.

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He told the court being jailed would see her lose her long-term council accommodation and would have an impact on her mental health. 

He added: “It might actually increase the risk of her reoffending.”

Magistrates said the offences had been “serious” but chose not to send her to prison.

Instead they imposed a 12-month community order that includes alcohol monitoring for four months and 30 rehabilitation days. She was also ordered to pay £200 compensation to Tesco.