This is Poverty England, Stealing to Survive, its Happening here in Ireland. Things will get Worse, a lot Worse?

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Mums who stole £2,250 in toiletries said cost of living crisis drove them to crime

 – Yesterday 15:26

2nd August 2022

Rowlands and Stephanie Goulding said economic hardship meant they needed to steal to support their children (Picture: Cavendish)

Two shoplifters pleaded with a judge to spare them jail after claiming the cost of living crisis drove them to crime.

Kelly Rowlands, 41, and Stephanie Goulding, 34, snatched £2,250 worth of goods from Boots in two separate thefts earlier this year.

The pair admitted to the offences but told the court they were left with no choice because of rising prices. 

They intended to sell the toiletries, washing and cleaning products on the black market because they were ‘struggling’ and received little help from the fathers of their children, they said.

Rowlands and Goulding targeted the chain’s Southport branch in January and then again two months later.

Prosecutor Tanya Berridge-Burley revealed how they managed to get £1,800 worth of goods during the first visit, with more than £450 taken the second time.

In mitigation defence solicitor Christopher Mantle said: ‘Both defendants said that they were struggling financially at the time when the cost of living was soaring through the roof. 

‘The defendants have to appreciate that whether they are struggling or not – and I’m sure the court will have some sympathy for them – the majority of people do not resort to offending.

‘Both defendants are single parents, both have two dependent children and have none or little support from the children’s fathers. 

‘Both defendants – and the fact that both have been out of trouble for a long period of time – both defendants would say that they were simply struggling.

‘Both concede that they had gone out and entered the store with the purpose of taking the items to resell to deal with their financial difficulties.’

At Sefton magistrates court, the defendants – both from Liverpool – were ordered to complete 12 month community orders.

Mr Mantle said his clients, both of whom have previous shoplifting convictions, disputed the value of the objects taken during the first theft.

After the sum was challenged, neither were required to pay any compensation despite the CPS maintaining its numbers were correct.

Hotel worker Rowlands was also ordered to complete 80 hours unpaid work and pay £180 in costs and victim surcharge. 

Goulding was also fined £80 and ordered to pay a £95 victim surcharge.

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