Wigan mum stole make-up and perfume to fund drug habit, court hears

A mother-of-five stole make-up and perfume after turning to shoplifting to feed her drug habit, a court heard.

But Amy O’Brien’s solicitor asked magistrates to deal with her “in a compassionate manner” as she now wanted to change her life.

Wigan and Leigh Courthouse, where the hearing took place

Wigan and Leigh Courthouse, where the hearing took place

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court heard police detained the 29-year-old in Wigan town centre on May 7 as she had been named as a shoplifter following a theft in April. A bag was recovered and police inquiries revealed the items inside it had been taken from two shops that day.

O’Brien, of Silverdale Avenue, Higher Ince, pleaded guilty to stealing perfume worth £82 from Next and make-up worth £159.20 from Wilko on May 7, along with make-up worth £120 from Boots on April 25.

Tess Kenyon, prosecuting, said she had previous convictions for 13 thefts, the most recent in December, but until then had not been in trouble since 2016.

The court heard O’Brien had used drugs for most of her adult life. She got clean for nearly a year and stopped offending, but relapsed after a serious situation involving one of her children.

Fatimah Uddin, defending, said she was brought up by her grandmother and did not know her parents growing up.

O’Brien, whose five children live with grandparents, threatened to self-harm recently and sought help from drug services, as she did not want her children to have a similar childhood.

She now had a prescription for methadone and was engaging with services, the court heard.

Miss Uddin told the bench: “She has taken the brave step of battling her demons and sought help and for these reasons, I would ask that these matters are dealt with by yourselves in a compassionate manner and respectfully invite you to deal with her by way of a community order.”

The bench imposed a 12-month community order, with six months of drug rehabilitation, 20 rehabilitation activity days and a curfew from 9pm to 6am for 21 days. O’Brien must pay £120 compensation to Boots for the stolen goods, which were not recovered, along with £85 prosecution costs and £85 victim surcharge.

l Stuart Hargreaves, 31, of Silverdale Avenue, Ince, pleaded not guilty to stealing perfume from Next and make-up from Wilko on May 7. He was remanded on unconditional bail until a trial on June 12.