Woman committed fraud as she thought shop staff mocked her when stuck in lift

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court

South East Suffolk Magistrates Court - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

A woman attempted to steal goods worth £18 from an Ipswich store because staff allegedly mocked her when she got stuck in the lift, a court heard.

Caroline Hall, of Cowslip Close, Ipswich, pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation at The Range on August 5 when she appeared before South East Suffolk Magistrates Court.

Prosecutor Nikki Miller said the 41-year-old entered the store with shopping bags and selected numerous items.

She removed the bar codes from cheaper goods and placed them on other more expensive items she was intending to buy.

Hall then went to the till with the intention of paying for the goods.

However, the sales assistant became suspicious as the bar codes came up for cheaper items than Hall had brought to the counter.

Among them was a £5.99 dog lead which had a code price of £1.99, a towel rail valued at £9.99 which was apparently £3.99 and some clear plastic at £3.99 which had a price of 99p.

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The court was told Hall had eight previous offences to her name including six of theft and a fraud in 2003.

Last year she received a conditional discharge for shoplifting.

Referring to the swapping the bar codes David Allan, representing Hall, said: “This was never something which was ever going to work.”

Magistrates heard the incident arose from Hall using a lift for the disabled which had become stuck.

Mr Allan said a member of staff had seen her call for help but simply left her and walked away.

Hall reportedly remained in the lift for a number of minutes until someone else discovered her by which time she was extremely agitated and anxious.

Hall was said to suffer from various anxiety-related conditions.

Mr Allen added: “For reasons she can’t explain she decided to switch round the labels.

“These current offences arose out of the panic of being trapped in a lift and staff who she felt were mocking her predicament.”

Hall was given a conditional discharge for 18 months.

She was also ordered to pay costs, a contribution to the victims’ fund and a criminal courts charge totalling £235.