Shoplifter's medication contained morphine

Burnley Magistrates' Court

Burnley Magistrates' Court

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A heroin-addicted shoplifter was being helped to cut down on illegal drugs by her medication for deep vein thrombosis, which contained morphine, a court heard.

Tracey Kim Brown (46) had stolen groceries worth £64.75 from Asda in Burnley. She paid for some items, but put others in her handbag or down the front of her trousers, hiding an electric toothbrush, the town's magistrates were told.

Brown told police when questioned she had only had £4 in cash and had gone into the store with the intention of stealing something, although she didn't know what she was going to take. She expressed remorse.

The defendant, of Edgworth Grove, Burnley, admitted theft on February 5th. Brown, who has 25 previous offences on her record, 10 of them for dishonesty, struck less than two weeks after she was reported for a number of similar offences.

Mr Mark Williams (defending) said: "She is addicted to heroin and has not been able, clearly, to afford a habit such as that without resorting to theft."

The solicitor said it had not been possible yet for the defendant to get a prescription to help her come off drugs, but hopefully that would change. Her DVT medication helped as it contained morphine.

The bench allowed a nine-month community order the defendant is already on to continue and fined her £20, with a £30 victim surcharge.