A MOTHER who recently completed a prison sentence for a string of shoplifting offences has again been convicted of theft.
Josie Dawson, 27, of 33 Stella Maris Court, Bideford, pleaded guilty to theft when she appeared at North Devon Magistrates' Court on Friday.
David Barnes, for the prosecution, explained how Dawson entered Boots in Bideford High Street on August 27 and began looking at Boots' own brand No 7 make up.
When staff realised Dawson was in the store they asked her to leave, since she is banned from entering it.
She did so but after her departure staff realised six items were missing from a display. The combined value of the missing make up was £41.64.
Jen Law, for the defence, said the offence had been committed just four days before Dawson started a ten-week prison sentence.
But Dawson was not arrested for the offence until October 10. Miss Law asked magistrates to consider what punishment Dawson may have received if the matter had been brought before the court on August 31.
Presiding magistrate Ian Kingsbury and his colleagues did just that. Having heard how Dawson, who lives with her mother and daughter, was on a methadone script and trying to turn her life around Mr Kingsbury opted not to imprison her again.
"The offence in itself doesn't cross the custody threshold, but with her previous convictions taken into account they do," he said.
"How do we stop her, that's the question."
Mr Kingsbury and his colleagues decided the best way to prevent her reoffending was to give Dawson, who came to court with her bags packed in anticipation of another spell inside, a "kick start".
"You need to get your life straight," he said, as he handed down a conditional discharge.
"If you do reoffend you will no doubt need to pack your bags again."