Jail for prolific shoplifter who spat in face of store manager

Bridget Ward was sentenced to 52 weeks. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary

Bridget Ward was sentenced to 52 weeks. Picture: Norfolk Constabulary - Credit: Norfolk Constabulary

A prolific shoplifter banned from many Great Yarmouth stores spat in the face of a store manager who tried to stop her stealing.

Gapton Hall shopping park, Great Yarmouth. Picture: House PR

Gapton Hall shopping park, Great Yarmouth. Picture: House PR - Credit: House PR

When Bridget Ward, 35, was approached over thefts by the manager in Poundstretcher, she started screaming and pulled at shelving before spitting in the face of the victim, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Ward also struck another security officer in the face, at Asda, and resisted arrest by a police officer as well as barging past a manager at River Island when she tried to stop her stealing from the store, the court was told.

Ward, of Tyrrells Road, Great Yarmouth, admitted 24 charges of shoplifting.

Stephen Spence, prosecuting, said Ward targeted a number of stores in Great Yarmouth including TK Maxx, Boots and River Island, many of which are based at Gapton Hall Retail Park.

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Her thefts took place between October 28 and December 27, last year, and the court heard it was to fund her drug addiction.

Mr Spence said Ward who has 18 convictions for 40 offences ignored store bans and shoplifted by hiding items in a bag before leaving without paying. He estimated the value of items stolen in her latest spree to be about £4,000.

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He said Boots was a regular target and she made off with expensive fragrance sets, including some worth £287 on November 1.

Ward also stole handbags worth £400 from TKMaxx, on October 20, and then returned again on October 28 to steal three coats worth £300.

She also stole a £78 coat from River Island and £405 of groceries from Asda.

Mr Spence said Ward was banned from many shops in the town and said: "She is a professional shoplifter."

Ward also admitted possessing cannabis, three assaults on shop staff and one of obstructing a police officer.

Jailing her for 52 weeks, Judge Katharine Moore said particularly concerning was her behaviour when confronted: "These are people going about their business. They should not have to put up with that in their daily lives."

Matthew McNiff, for Ward, said she shoplifted to feed her drugs habit. He accepted she had engaged in unpleasant behaviour.

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