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‘She was very hungry’: 24-year-old narrowly avoids prison after stealing lamb legs from supermarket

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A woman has narrowly avoided returning to jail for shoplifting after stealing three lamb legs from a town centre store.Cleo Hannabuss, 24, took the products from Marks & Spencer in Lynn on November 20. They were worth a combined £19.50, and she pleaded guilty to doing so.She also admitted breaching a Section 35 dispersal order from police which required her to stay away from Norfolk Street for 48 hours from 4pm on January 6 after she was found begging in the town centre.

Cleo Hannabuss appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court last Thursday

Hannabuss, of Duggie Carter Court in North Lynn, had been handed a six-month conditional discharge on August 31 last year after stealing from One Beyond, and her theft breached that order.On Thursday, Alan Hayes, chairing the magistrates, said: “Your track record is so that, not withstanding the cash value that you took, this does cross the custody threshold.“However, there are signs that your situation is now improving.”The bench therefore did hand Hannabuss a six-week jail sentence, but suspended it for a period of six months.She was fined £30 for breaching the Section 35 order and was told to pay compensation to M&S because, although the products were recovered, they were spoiled and could not be sold on.Hannabuss will also pay a £154 victim surcharge, but was handed no legal costs because of her means.“It is entirely up to you. You know what is going to happen if you breach your suspended sentence – you will spend six weeks in jail,” Mr Hayes added.In mitigation, duty solicitor George Sorrell had argued that there were “trends in the right way” regarding the defendant’s criminal record. She has been imprisoned for shoplifting before.He described her latest theft as a “blip”.“Miss Hannabuss is not a stranger to these courts. She has been here many times, and I have had to emphasise in the past what a very difficult life she has led – mostly through no fault of her own,” Mr Sorrell said.“She was very hungry – she had nothing at home to eat, and she found herself in Marks & Spencer and took these items.“You can see from her record that she is not an accomplished shoplifter. When she does this type of thing, she tends to get caught.”On Hannabuss begging in the town centre, the solicitor added: “When she behaves in this sort of way – and I have seen it – she is quite courteous and polite.“She isn’t disagreeable in any way except to point out her situation, quietly sitting and hoping that someone will give her some money.“She has allowed her behaviour to become, in essence, a way of life and her character.“She does tend to be quite nice to people, even if she does steal from them.”

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