‘Serial offender’ who takes £60 worth of cannabis and cocaine a day caught shoplifting twice

A “serial offender” who takes around £60 worth of drugs a day was recently been caught putting 11 bottles of washing products in a holdall and walking out without paying.

Vanessa Hunter, 36, of Shiregreen, Fairstead, admitted to two offences of theft at Lynn’s Magistrates’ Court on Thursday and was given her ”final chance” of escaping a prison sentence.

Prosecutor Emma Pocknell outlined to magistrates that on March 22, Hunter stole cheese and washing pods worth £49 from Lidl in Lynn.

Hunter appeared at Lynn's Magistrates’ Court on Thursday
Hunter appeared at Lynn’s Magistrates’ Court on Thursday

And on June 10, Hunter entered The Range in Lynn and filled a holdall with 11 bottles of washing products thought to be worth £70.

Ms Pocknell said: “She is a serial offender when it comes to thefts.”

Mitigating for Hunter was Ruth Johnson, who explained that Hunter was a “helpful and kind soul” who does not look after herself.

“She needs to put herself first,” said Ms Johnson, after explaining that Hunter looks after her partner who is currently unwell.

It was also explained that in the past few weeks, Hunter has made improvements to her personal life, cutting back on her alcohol consumption and moving into her own home thanks to the help of the Purfleet Trust.

She was previously seeking help from Lynn’s Night Shelter.

Ms Johnson said: “It’s not a second thought to us to have a house, but it really is a big step for her to have a house of her own.”

Hunter was described as a “prolific offender who leads a chaotic lifestyle”.

Ms Johnson added: “I have to say on her behalf she presents well and is articulate, she cooperates and makes no excuses. She is embarrassed about her drug addiction.”

As Hunter spends £60 on heroine and cocaine a day, her solicitor asked magistrates if Hunter could seek help from the probation service.

It was explained that if Hunter was given a prison sentence, she would lose her accommodation.

“She has been in custody for a period of time and it had no effect on her whatsoever,” said Ms Johnson.

“A prison sentence would be an easy option, she can cope with prison.”

Magistrates decided to take Ms Johnson’s advice and not send Hunter to prison and instead gave her a 24-month community order.

She was also ordered to pay £70 in compensation to The Range and was given a total of 25 rehabilitation activity days to complete.

Hunter will also take part in a six-month drug testing and rehabilitation requirement course.

The chairman of the magistrates said: “This is your last chance.”