Teen thief had '˜difficult time growing up'

A teenager who stole a woman's phone at a house party has ended up being jailed for 18 weeks.

Zoe Jeffrey (18) answered the phone and laughed when the theft victim Kirsty Armstrong rang the number and asked for the phone back. Ms Armstrong then called the police, Burnley magistrates heard.

Jeffrey had helped herself to the telephone while subject to a suspended prison term, imposed after she stole a Pot Noodle and sweets from Aldi in the town and then attacked a security guard.

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She took the phone just a month after she was given the 16-week suspended sentence. Jeffrey had been convicted of theft and battery on February 16th. She had since only attended one probation appointment on the suspended term.

The jobless defendant, of Whitehall Street, Nelson, pleaded guilty to theft of the £100 Samsung phone on March 16. She also admitted failing to surrender.

The justices activated the 16 week suspended term and gave her two weeks consecutive for the bail offence. Jeffrey has 20 offences on her record.

Daniel Frazer (defending) said taking the phone was “an act of petulance”. He continued: “It was the act of an immature person doing something out of spite because she was blamed for something she had not done.”

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Mr Frazer said Jeffrey was a product of the care system, had been homeless, didn’t know who her dad was and didn’t speak to her mother. He added: “She had a difficult time growing up.”

The solicitor urged the justices to impose a curfew to punish Jeffrey and keep her in at night and so that, hopefully, he said, she could engage with the probation service and get support.