Woman stole booze as an act of desperation

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An unemployed Polish woman stole two bottles of booze in desperation to sell for food after her benefits were suspended, a court heard.

Karolina Ziolkowska, 29 pleaded guilty at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, to stealing the alcohol valued at £12.50 from the Iceland store on June 3.

The court heard shop assistants saw her acting suspiciously and watched as she put two bottles of alcohol into her handbag and left the store.

When she was challenged by staff she told them she did not have any money to pay for them.

She was arrested and taken into custody where she told police her plan was to sell the alcohol to buy food.

Ziolkowska, who spoke through an interpreter said she was living at the house of a friend on Bishop Street, Mansfield.

Defending, duty solicitor Matt Green said she had been living in the UK for eight years and had been working for Sports Direct until she lost her job 12 months ago.

Until then she had been supporting herself financially.

Because of her unfamiliarity with the benefits system she had not notified a change of address when she had claimed Job Seekers Allowance.

Her benefits had been suspended for three months and she had nothing to live on or pay her rent.

She had been living in friends’ houses ever since.

He said the theft was an act of desperation and Ziolkowska, who had been remanded in custody for a day planned to return to Poland.

Magistrates heard Ziolkowska had received a caution for a similar offence recently.

The chairman the bench told her: “Clearly you cannot go around stealing. If you do you will end up in prison.”

She was given a conditional discharge for six months and ordered to pay a Victim Surcharge of £15.