Woman stole more than £1,000 of alcohol from supermarket on two occasions
- Credit: Suffolk Constabulary
A woman who twice stole more than £1,000 of alcohol from an Ipswich branch of Sainsbury's has been jailed for 20 weeks.
Maria Niculescu appeared in custody before Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Monday to admit two counts of theft from the Warren Heath store, in Felixstowe Road.
The 46-year-old was caught leaving the supermarket with a trolley full of alcohol worth £1,060.80 on Saturday, October 2.
Niculescu was recognised by one of the store's security guards, who reviewed CCTV footage to discover she was the same woman who walked out with £1,093 of alcohol on July 20.
She also admitted stealing £614.48 of alcohol in the meantime, from Tesco Extra in Hemel Hempstead, at about 4.20pm on September 21.
On that occasion, she tried to run away after being stopped from leaving the store with two foil-lined bags full of stolen spirits.
Niculescu, of Azalea Close, Ilford, was still on bail for the Hemel Hempstead offence when she returned to target Sainsbury's for a second time.
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The court heard she had received a caution for theft in the Metropolitan Police area on September 7, but had no previous criminal convictions.
David Ellis, mitigating, said Niculescu had been in the UK since May this year and had worked on-and-off, but was currently unemployed and ineligible for benefits.
"As a result, she has been lacking in money and resorted to this sort of activity," added Mr Ellis, who said Niculescu had sold the unrecovered alcohol on to raise money for living expenses.
He said Niculescu had been naive to how seriously the court would take shoplifting and had not enjoyed spending two days in custody awaiting the hearing.
"I hope that lives long in her memory, " he added.
"And I very much hope she does not repeat this sort of behaviour."
Mr Ellis told magistrates that Niculescu was physically and mentally fit to carry out unpaid work in the community.
"It would serve as a significant punishment and would be appropriate in this case," he added.
Niculescu was jailed for a total of 20 weeks and ordered to pay £250 in compensation to Sainsbury's.