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5th Jul, 2022

Persistent shoplifter jailed to spare shops further problems during coronavirus crisis

A PERSISTENT Stratford shoplifter with a ‘well-honed technique’ has been told that, with shops currently facing enough problems, it would not be right to unleash her back on the community.

Lisa Ellington appeared at Warwick Crown Court via a video-link from HMP Peterborough after she had pleaded guilty to burglary, four charges of theft and one of common assault.

The 35-year-old, of Drayton Avenue, was jailed for a total of 16 months.

Prosecutor Ian Speed said last September Ellington and her partner Martin Smith broke into the Hevans hairdressing salon in Rother Street, Stratford, at night.

They got in by Smith, whose case was being dealt with in the magistrates’ court, putting a brick through the window.

Once inside, they put a quantity of electrical items and hair products into a carrier bag – but the police arrived and arrested them before they could make off with their haul.

On December 2, Ellington and Smith went into the TK Maxx store in Stratford armed with a security tag remover which Mr Speed commented ‘suggests it was a professional enterprise.’

Although the de-tagger was found on Smith when security staff stopped them outside with handbags and purses worth £467, CCTV cameras showed Ellington using it to remove the security tags from the items.

Ellington reacted aggressively to being challenged, swinging one of the bags at one of the security officers.

But when arrested, she claimed she could not remember anything about the incident because she was under the influence of drink or drugs at the time.

Having been released, later in December Ellington went into the Tesco in Stratford in the early hours of the morning and helped herself to a bottle of Jack Daniels, a bottle of gin, a packet of acid reflux tablets and a jumper.

She wrapped tin foil round the tags in an unsuccessful attempt to beat the store’s security system, and was stopped outside and detained until the police arrived.

Then on February 29, Ellington returned to the Tesco store where a security guard saw her selecting bottles of alcohol and concealing them.

She also stole two scented candles, an inflatable bed and a bar of chocolate, and when she was challenged as she was leaving she kicked out at the security officer and tried to bite his hand.

Mr Speed added Ellington had 33 convictions for 63 offences, including a number for shoplifting, and at the time of the burglary was subject to a suspended sentence for an earlier theft from TK Maxx.

Appearing via a video conferencing link, Simon Hunka, defending, said Ellington’s problem had long been class A drugs.

Mr Hunka suggested that, with most shops closed because of the coronavirus measures and people being told to stay at home, ‘in a strange way this is as good a time as any for her to be given a chance.’

But jailing her, Judge Anthony Potter told Ellington: “I can’t see that, at a time when shops have enough problems, it would be right to unleash you on the community.”

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