Thief captured in the act stole for 'easy money'

A shoplifter caught on CCTV cutting a security tag from a £130 handbag claimed a man had given him a pair of nail clippers and told him to do it, a court heard.

The man was caught on CCTV
The man was caught on CCTV

Burnley magistrates were told how charity volunteer Andrew Mark Campbell, 41, had been seen kneeling down in TK Maxx in the town, removing the tag and putting the bag under his jacket. He then walked out and ran off, but was caught by a security officer and a police officer, who found him hiding under a car. The handbag was recovered.

Campbell, who doesn’t work and is on employment and support allowance, said he had been “ confronted” outside the store and given some sort of nail clippers.

He continued :” I was walking by. I got talking to him. He said to me go in and get such and such. He said I would get some easy money.”

The defendant, who was not represented by a solicitor, handed the bench a folder about his volunteer work, which he said he had been carrying out for six years. He went on :” I had not been budgeting very well. I got into financial difficulties. It was stupid of me. I have been out of trouble for the last six years and have taken a degree.”

Campbell, of Barden Lane, Burnley, admitted theft on August 1. He was given a 12-month conditional discharge and must pay a £20 victim surcharge and £45 costs.