A “ruse” by two shoplifters to steal a trolley full of items from Hucknall’s Tesco Extra superstore was foiled when they activated the alarms.
Terry Matthews tried to distract a security officer he knew by chatting to him, while his accomplice, Emily Hamlin, wheeled out the trolley loaded with shopping worth nearly £500.
But Nottingham Magistrates’ Court heard that as soon as the trolley hit the exit door, the alarms went off, and the pair were arrested.
“They were asked to produce a receipt, and neither could,” Rod Chapman, prosecuting, told the court.
“Matthews was insistent he had paid at the self-service checkout, while Hamlin said she was leaving the store to get her credit card and had forgotten she was still pushing the trolley.
“Matthews later claimed it was all a misunderstanding about who would pay for the goods. But it was clearly a ruse to throw security staff off the track.”
Eventually Matthews, 36, and Hamlin, 28, both of Barbara Square, Hucknall, made full confessions and, in court, they pleaded guilty to jointly stealing items worth £468.51 from the Ashgate Road store on Tuesday, August 4 last year.
Most of the items were cosmetics, make-up, alcohol and baby products, the court heard. All were recovered.
Derek Brown, mitigating, said both Matthews and Hamlin resorted to the shoplifting because of financial difficulties.
“He used to work as a signal engineer until his firm went into liquidation,” said Mr Brown. “He has recently become a grandad and is keen to put this behind him, get on with his life and secure employment in the construction industry.
“Miss Hamlin is a young mum with a five-year-old daughter. She was struggling to make ends meet and debts accumulated.
“She accepts she has done wrong, but she is a grafter and is back in work now.”
After reading reports by the probation service, Deputy District Judge Nala Lawrence sentenced the pair to community orders of 12 months and told them each to pay courts costs of £150, plus a victim surcharge of £60. Matthews was also ordered to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work in the local community.
Mr Lawrence told them: “This was a joint enterprise and a concerted effort by both of you to steal property to settle your debts.”