Heroin and crack user 'didn't remember' Wigan shoplifting spree

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court
Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court

A drug user and “prolific” shoplifter was on bail when she returned to a store with two empty bags, a court heard.

Zara Fairhurst, 28, of Vulcan Road, Marsh Green, is now behind bars after two incidents at Boots on Robin Retail Park.

Wigan magistrates heard she went to the shop’s razor section on January 18 and selected two gift sets worth £35 each. She then went to another part of the shop, was seen crouching and tags were later found there.

Joanne Cronshaw, prosecuting, said Fairhurst left without paying for items worth £129.97.

She was shown CCTV footage of the incident and did not dispute her guilt, but did not remember what happened, the court heard.

Ms Cronshaw said: “She says she is a heroin and crack cocaine user and had been stealing to fund her habit.”

Fairhurst pleaded guilty to theft when she appeared in court on February 16. But justices were told she returned to Boots on Monday, breaching her bail conditions.

Ms Cronshaw said: “The defendant was caught entering the Boots at Robin Park. She had with her two empty bags for life. She was challenged by the manager when she entered and she then left.

She said Fairhurst had 18 previous convictions for 42 offences, 19 of which were theft.

Fairhurst admitted breaching bail conditions and a further charge of failing to comply with post-sentence supervision by not attending planned appointments.

A probation officer told the court that Fairhurst had been jailed in April for theft and remained on post-sentence supervision, but her engagement was “poor”.

Melissa Fagan, defending, said Fairhurst was a carer for her father and had a “somewhat chaotic past lifestyle. She has unfortunately been using illicit substances for a period of now four, possibly five, years. It’s not something she is proud of.

“It’s something she is struggling to overcome and she does advise me she feels at last that perhaps the prescription and the assistance she has been afforded from the drug treatment agencies is beginning to have a positive effect on her.”

She said Fairhurst’s prescription had been “rocky” at times and she had lapsed into offending, but it was now sufficient.

Fairhurst was jailed for 90 days for theft and 14 days for breaching post-sentence supervision and also pay £129.97 in compensation.

Anthony Coffee, chairman of the bench, said: “We have decided that only custody is the appropriate sentence. We have looked at your past record as one of the reasons for this. You are a prolific shoplifter stealing to fund a drug habit and non-custody things have been tried and just failed.”