Scarborough's Lauren Shimells, 23, jailed for assaulting police officers, shoplifting and 'out-of-control behaviour'

A booze-addled “menace” has been jailed for 18 months following a five-month crime spree in which she assaulted police officers, stole from shops and terrorised members of the public.

By Court reporter
Monday, 4th November 2019, 9:16 am
Lauren Shimells.
Lauren Shimells.

Lauren Shimells, 23, had earned notoriety in Scarborough even before her latest batch of offences in which police officers were injured and shop workers threatened.

The bewildering array of offences began on May 15 when police were called out to her home in Scarborough.

Shimells refused to leave the property and put up a struggle as police tried to arrest her. She was finally bundled into a police van but kicked out at officers, York Crown Court heard.

One officer suffered bruising and injuries to his head and arm. Another officer suffered pain to his hip and a cut hand. One of the officers’ sunglasses were damaged during the incident, said prosecutor Jessica Randell.

Shimells was bailed but before long she was out shoplifting, first targeting Poundland in Scarborough where she stole £26 worth of clothes.

On May 21, she was spotted stuffing ready meals into her bag at Heron Foods in Newborough. A female staff member raised the alarm, whereupon Shimells “got in her face and shouted at her for reporting her”, said Ms Randell.

The staff member walked away but Shimells followed her and told her: “Watch yourself: you are going to get stabbed.”

The victim sought refuge in another shop where she called police. Shimells was arrested and charged with threatening behaviour.

Shimells was charged with the shop thefts in June and was bailed again, but on June 27 there was another unseemly incident in which she swore and gesticulated rudely at officers and banged on the side of the police vehicle.

Less than a week later, she was at it again. This time police were called out to an incident in Fieldside where she was “drinking, swearing in the street and demanding to be arrested”.

A group of about 10 people were surrounding Shimells outside a shop after she had caused a “disturbance”.

Ms Randell said Shimells had tried to get into a local store from which she was banned, and a security guard had had to call for assistance.

She was arrested again and bailed, but on August 21 she stole a basket-full of goods from Sainsburys supermarket in Scarborough.

Shimells herself called police out to her address where she was with a man who had been shoplifting with her.

When police arrived at the property, Shimells and her male friend, both clearly drunk, became abusive to officers and refused them entry.

Officers had to break in, at which point Shimells climbed onto a window ledge below which was a 15ft drop. Officers managed to get her down and arrested her for the shop theft.

She was arrested again and bailed, but nine days later she was causing trouble again in Scarborough town centre, where she had laid down to sleep in a shop doorway.

Members of her family came across her and she gave them a mouth-full of abuse. A staff member from a local kebab shop filmed the scenes which infuriated Shimells, who ran after him into the shop.

The owner tried to force her out, only for Shimells to grab his hair and “drag him about” before punching him in the side of the head. She was arrested again and charged with assault.

However, just two weeks later, she was found drunk, shouting and swearing, at the back of Scarborough Police Station. Bizarrely, she stood in the way as a police officer tried to park his car, said Ms Randell.

The court heard that all these matters were in breach of a suspended prison sentence that Shimells received in April. She had 21 previous convictions to her name for 38 offences.

Shimells - formerly of Moorside but who had lately been homeless - was due to be sentenced for all the new matters at York Crown Court earlier in the autumn but turned up so drunk - shouting and swearing in the dock - that the case had to be postponed.

She finally appeared for sentence on Friday after being convicted of a plethora of offences including two counts of assaulting emergency workers, public disorder, four counts of shop theft, resisting a police officer, criminal damage and breaching a suspended sentence.

Defence barrister Fiona Clancy said Shimmels’ alcohol problem, which “underpinned” her offending, stemmed from a traumatic childhood.

Mr Recorder Macdonald QC said Shimells had a “thoroughly terrible” record and had been a “complete menace… to those who live in Scarborough”.

“The offences were committed in public, when the general public were exposed to disgusting language and out-of-control behaviour,” he added.

Shimells was jailed for 18 months, of which she will serve half behind bars.