A 66-year-old Enniskillen woman’s theft from two local supermarkets was a ‘call for help’ a court has heard. Glenda Black, of Woaghterneary was convicted of two counts of theft and one of fraud by false representation, but was given a conditional discharge when she appeared at Enniskillen Magistrates Court.
In two separate incidents the prosecutor outlined first that on November 22, 2014 police received a report from staff at Asda that at 8.30pm they had received three jackets from Black, who was returning them for a refund she received on a gift card.
Staff were able to confirm that the defendant had been banned from the store on February 14, 2014 and her identity was confirmed by CCTV. The footage showed Black enter the store with bags in her trolley, which did not contain goods and was seen placing items in the trolley before heading for a refund.
On November 23 she was arrested for fraud by false representation. She confirmed she did get a refund in the store to the value of £87 and then purchased two cigarette cartons with the gift card. She denied placing the coats in the trolley and said she was getting the refund for a friend and used the friend’s name on the card.
After seeing the CCTV footage Black made full admissions. One cigarette carton was unopened and fit for re-sale. No request was made for restitution.
In the second incident on December 27, 2014 police were called to Dunnes Stores in Enniskillen where a female shopper had been detained. They spoke to security staff who told them Black had left the store without paying for groceries in her bag, valued at £36.89. Black was arrested and told police she was on medication and was having a memory test in the new year.
When shown CCTV footage Black told police she forgot she had items in her trolley due to a sudden onset of a medical condition. She denied intending to steal anything and said she didn’t realise she had goods in her bag while leaving. The goods were subsequently fit for re-sale.
Defence barrister Heather Philips said this was a somewhat unusual case where a woman had gone her entire life without coming to police attention until last year. She noted the defendant has a significant number of issues, including; problems dealing with emotions, alcohol abuse and risk taking behaviour.
The defence told the court Black was physically isolated and resided on her own and in the last year has been receiving a number of ‘highly abusive’ and ‘threatening’ phone calls from someone she used to care for. Ms Philips said this has left the defendant in ‘significant distress’ and combined with her mental health and physical problems has led this lady to suffer.
The barrister noted there was no level of sophistication to the offences and said it was ‘attention seeking behaviour’ and a ‘cry for help’. She added that Black was engaged with various agencies, including probation as well as her GP.
District judge Nigel Broderick said any theft is a serious matter, but recognised prior to March 2014 the defendant had a completely clear record.
“Clearly this is the outworkings of difficulties in your life,” the judge remarked. Noting the work being undertaken with agencies by Black the district judge decided to leave something hanging over her head, but warned this was not a lenient sentence and was on the condition Black did not re-offend and cooperated with probation.
“Whatever’s wrong in your life get probation to help you sort it out,” Mr Broderick added.
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