Desperate Wigan dad stole beauty products for cash after his benefit payments were stopped

A desperate Wigan dad stole a haul of beauty products in a bid to stay financially afloat after his benefit payments were stopped, a court heard.

Wednesday, 16th October 2019, 10:17 am
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates' Court

Christopher Whittle helped himself to more than £170 in goods from the Boots store at Robin Park after encountering problems with Universal Credit.

Other news: Wigan mum's school complaints will not be investigatedBut the 34-year-old’s attempt to flee was thwarted by a PCSO outside the store, and he was hauled before the court after spending a weekend in the cells.

Magistrates sitting at Wigan and Leigh Courthouse heard that on Saturday October 5, dad-of-one Whittle entered the shop and began filling a sports bag with items, mostly teeth-whitening products, and headed for the exit without attempting to pay for them.

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Staff caught the attention of a PCSO who was standing outside the shop, and he confronted Whittle over his actions.

Panicking, Whittle threw the bag of stolen goods at the officer and tried to run away, but he was apprehended.

He gave a no-comment interview to the police when questioned, and spent the weekend in the cells, being brought before the magistrates in police custody.

Defending, Melissa Fagan told the bench that her client had been struggling financially due to issues with his Universal Credit payments.

She added that the incident was a “standalone offence” unrelated to any previous behaviour, and that Whittle had had a weekend to reflect on his actions in the cells.

Despite the seriousness of the offence, the bench told Whittle they would “give him the benefit of the doubt” by imposing a conditional discharge for 18 months, meaning he will face no punishment unless he offends again within a year and a half.

Whittle, of Prestt Grove, wigan, must also pay £85 in court costs and a victim surcharge of £21.

He was told by the bench chair: “Remember this, if you have any trouble not being able to pay that, get in touch (with the court) straight away.

“Don’t go in Boots again, and do not go out stealing again.”