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Shoplifter stole £3,500 of items from shops including TK Maxx and Boots

PUBLISHED: 11:19 10 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:19 10 January 2020

A number of Ward's offences took place at the Gapton Hall Retail Park. Picture: House PR

A number of Ward's offences took place at the Gapton Hall Retail Park. Picture: House PR

House PR

A drug addict who plagued shops in a coastal town is facing a jail sentence after stealing more than £3,500 worth of goods.

A drug addict who plagued shops in a coastal town is facing a jail sentence after stealing more than £3,500 worth of goods.

Bridget Ward, of Tyrrells Road, Great Yarmouth, admitted 21 charges of shoplifting when she appeared at the town's Magistrates' Court on Wednesday, January 8.

From September 25 until she was remanded in custody at HMP Peterborough on December 30, Ward raided a number of stores, including TK Maxx, Boots and River Island, in Great Yarmouth.

The 35-year-old repeatedly entered the stores before placing items in a bag for life and leaving without paying.

While the value of the stolen items is not known for three of the charges, only five of the incidents involved thefts of less than £160 worth of goods.

Ward also admitted possessing cannabis, three incidents of assaulting staff who confronted her at the stores, and one of obstructing a police officer in the execution of their duty.

Ward initially denied 13 of the shoplifting charges at an earlier hearing on December 28.

Robert Barley, mitigating, said: "I represented her for that first appearance and there is a significant in her emotional state since then, and it is no coincidence that she has spent a few days inside prison and has started down the road of detoxification.

"In three words: Heroin, crack, cocaine.

"She has not been in trouble for shoplifting since 2007, so this is something of a burst of offending.

"She is not a habitual shoplifter."

Ward moved to Great Yarmouth around two years ago, the court heard.

Mr Barley said: "She had had a troubled life and started using cannabis at 14 which started off the slide towards harder drugs.

"She thought moving to a smaller town would give her a better opportunity to steer clear of trouble, but it made her moderately easy to find.

"Her dealers found out where she was getting her methadone and were waiting outside for her."

Ward will now be sentenced at Norwich Crown Court at a date to be fixed after magistrates deemed their sentencing powers were not sufficient, and was remanded in custody until then.

On September 25, Ward stole coffee jars worth £50 from Iceland, as well as stealing glue, glitter pots and DVDs worth £290 from WH Smiths on October 28.

Ward targeted Boots eight times. On November 1 she stole four fragrance gift sets worth £287, an a Paco Rabanne gift set worth £68, before returning two days later to steal five fragrance gift sets worth £307.50.

On November 24 she stole three fragrance gift sets worth £177, before returning the following day to steal three more gift sets worth £187.

On December 7 she stole perfume sets worth £266 and more perfume sets on December 9, of an unknown value. She returned on Christmas Eve to steal two Wonder Wow self-tanning kits, worth £69.98.

She also raided TK Maxx on a number of occasions. On October 20, Ward stole handbags worth £400, while on October 28, she stole three coats worth £300. She stole more handbags on December 8 worth £200, purses and a bum bag worth £200 on December 10 and a DKNY jacket and Steve Madden handbag on Boxing Day, worth £160.

She targeted River Island three times, on December 12 to steal a coat worth £78, on December 27 to steal an unknown amount of clothing, and on December 30 to steal more clothes.

She also raided Argos on December 19 for board games and toys worth £80, Poundstretcher for cleaning and cosmetic products worth £50 on December 27, and, also on December 27, Asda for clothes and groceries worth £405.56.

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