Brazen Primark and M&S shoplifter admits she’s ‘too old for all this’

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A brazen shoplifter has appeared in court after she threatened to punch a shop assistant, stab another with a needle, and get into multiple “tugs of war” over items. 

Kendra Gibson was also caught on CCTV walking into Primark, taking off her shoes and placing them under a display before picking up a new pair and trying to make off wearing them. 

Teesside Magistrates’ Court heard how her recent crime spree began on January 8 when she entered the One Beyond Store in Hill Street Shopping Centre, Middlesbrough. She picked up shaving foam, socks and gloves to the value of £10 and headed towards the door.

Heather Willis, prosecuting, said Gibson was stopped and asked for the stock to be returned. She said: “Gibson threatened to punch them and they, therefore, didn’t attempt to stop her any further.”

The next day, Gibson entered M&S. A member of staff was on his break when he saw her walking towards the door with her arms full of nightwear. He tried to stop her and a “tug of war” began, she broke free and left the store. The items, worth £220, were recovered, Teesside Live reports.

The same day she walked into Primark and was caught on CCTV swapping her shoes for a new £28 pair and making for the door. When confronted she then hurled verbal abuse. A customer service manager at the Hill Street Shopping Centre tried to reason with her but she began flailing her arms around and struck him to the left temple.

Another shop assistant took hold of her feet and removed one of the shoes, the other shoe was recovered and a second stolen pair was found in her bag. She then threw a pen at one staff member which hit him in the face.

On January 15, Gibson entered Wilko’s and picked up £50 worth of make-up from the cosmetics aisle. She goes to leave the store and was challenged by a member of staff and another “tug of war” breaks out.

Ms Willis said: “The defendant then moved her mouth to above is hand making him believe he was going to be bitten.” The court heard he then moved his hands and Gibson raised her fist in the air bring it down on his hands in a “hammer strike” which caused him to release his grip.

Gibson continued to threaten members of staff with and even shouted “I’ll stab you with this needle”. All of the items, bar the original haul worth £10 from One Beyond, were recovered.

Neil Douglas, representing Gibson, admitted this was a “difficult case to mitigate”. He said: “Ms Gibson is currently subject to a community order that did not appear to achieve any impact on her behaviour. You can probably detect an escalation.”

He said the defendant has an addiction to crack cocaine. She lost her sister last year which has had a huge impact on her and she is dealing with grief by turning to drugs, the court heard.

Mr Douglas added: “She has been in prison, not for a long time but it has given her a break. She has obviously been drug-free for two weeks, she feels a lot better for that.”

“She has herself professed that she is “too old for all of this”, said Mr Douglas. “She can see now because she has broken out of that cycle.”

Gibson pleaded guilty to three counts of assault by beating, one count of using threatening behaviour to cause fear or provoke unlawful violence and four counts of theft.

Gibson, of Parliament Road, was handed an 18-week sentence suspended for 18 months. An existing community order, which was put in place days before her crime spree, will remain in place and includes 22 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement.

She must also pay £50 in compensation to each victim of assault.

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