Drug addict serial shoplifter found with knife jailed

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court

A serial shoplifter has been jailed after police arrested her in the street armed with a knife.


Drug addict Kathleen O’Neil was sent to prision for six months after appearing before Wigan magistrates to plead guilty to possessing a blade in public and five counts of thefts from local shops in Leigh.

The bench heard the 31-year-old of Gordon Street had not been complying with a curfew when the early hours confrontation took place.

Prosectors said that on May 9 police noticed an open door at a house in Leigh.

They went to approach the property when a woman began walking down the street shouting and talking to herself. The officers tried to speak with her but she ignored them and went into the house and slammed the front door.

Moments later O’Neil re-emerged and stormed off up the street. The bobbies followed and O’Neil began banging and shouting on the window of a house in Glebe Street with a metal object.

She walked off again and the officers shouted for her to drop the knife. She threw the weapon under a vehicle which was retrieved by the police and she was handcuffed.

Appearing in the dock O’Neil pleaded guilty to thefts of food and alcohol from Leigh’s Asda and Marks and Spencer in April and May. For each of the five thefts she was given an extra two months in prison although all but one of them is to run concurrently to the four months received for the knife crime.

Explaining why O’Neil was being put behind bars the magistrates’ chair told her: “This court made a community order in an attempt to assist you with your drugs addiction.

“That clearly was not something at the forefront of your mind when you failed to comply with the terms of that order nor when you targeted Asda for a number of shoplifting offences as well as another offence in Marks and Spencer.

“You have not been complying with the curfew requirement and you were also found on the streets in the early hours in possession of a knife.

“Your compliance with the order has been so poor that you have lost access to your drugs script and have showed little or no intention of even attempting to resolve your addiction. The result of your non-compliance is further offending.”