Drug addict stole children’s clothing

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court

A drug-addicted thief who helped herself to children’s clothing worth £128 from Tesco was in breach of three conditional discharges at the time.

Burnley magistrates were told how Mary Ellen Howarth (45), who currently uses one bag of heroin a day, had had a drugs problem for 20 years, was on benefits and went out stealing to fund her habit. She struck at the town’s branch of the supermarket on June 29th, because she claimed to be “skint”. Howarth is now barred from the store.

Howarth’s mother, the bench heard, had just suffered a heart attack and the defendant was said to want to make changes in her life and to be with her.

The defendant, of Dall Street, Burnley, admitted theft. She was given a six- month community order, with a drugs programme, was fined £20 and was told to pay an £85 victim surcharge. The bench said she had shown remorse.

Mrs Alex Mann, prosecuting, said at Tesco, Howarth was seen removing tags from the clothing and putting the goods in a bag, by staff watching the CCTV.

Mr Mark Williams, defending Howarth, said she had relapsed into using drugs earlier this year. She was working with Inspire, the drugs treatment service.

The solicitor said the defendant knew she had to sort her act out and spend some time with her mother, who had just had a heart attack. He added: “Clearly, drugs are the issue, but they are being dealt with.”