A mother has landed herself on Santa’s naughty list after she went on a Christmas shopping spree but didn’t pay for anything.
Heather Ray enlisted the help of her daughter, Zoe, 18, as they went round lifting items from Boots, Toys R Us, Topshop, Next, House of Fraser, HMV, Waterstones, Body Shop and Clinton’s.
But, Father Christmas’s keen-eyed elves spotted them and they’ve been taken to court. The Rays pleaded guilty to shoplifting at nine different shops in Huddersfield.
Prosecutor Andy Wills told Kirklees Magistrates’ Court that Mrs Ray was caught acting suspiciously by a member of security staff at Boots on October 24.
She took three boxes of vitamins from the shelves, removed them from their packaging and put them in her handbag.
She did the same with three fragrance gift sets and some skin care products – using a Boots carrier bag to help conceal them.
She then headed to the photographic aisle where she was joined by her daughter and her younger child.
The elder daughter was also observed stealing items in the King Street store and putting them in a bag.
As the family left the store – with the £604 worth of goods they had stolen – they were challenged by the security guard and returned inside to await the arrival of police.
Ray told police about a further eight thefts committed by her on the same day at stores in the Kingsgate Shopping Centre in Huddersfield.
They included toys and a child’s dress from Toys R Us, shower gels from The Body Shop, children’s clothing from Next and Christmas cards and figurines from Clinton’s.
Ray also took household items and clothing from House of Fraser, DVDs from HMV, books from Waterstones and clothes from Top Shop – totalling just over £700.
Upon her arrest Ray said that she suffered from a bad back and needed the vitamin tablets to help ease this as her doctor would not prescribe them.
Her daughter explained that she was not thinking straight after losing her job.
Single mother Ray told magistrates: ‘I’m struggling to provide for the family, it’s made me do these strange things I’ve not done before.
‘I can’t say enough how sorry I am – I’m on a lot of medication and it sends me a bit doolally at times.
‘I don’t go into town very often so when I came I thought I have to get what I need for Christmas.’
Ray’s daughter escaped punishment after being handed a 12-month conditional discharge.
Magistrates sentenced Ray to a six-month community order with 10 days of rehabilitative activities. Both have to pay £85 costs and £20 victim surcharge.