Female thieves caught by off-duty policeman

Scarborough's Morrisons store at Crossgates gets a major makeover to mark the 18th anniversary of it opening. Picture by Andrew Higgins  124137n   11/10/12
Scarborough's Morrisons store at Crossgates gets a major makeover to mark the 18th anniversary of it opening. Picture by Andrew Higgins 124137n 11/10/12

An off-duty police officer shopping with his wife caught two female shoplifters in a Scarborough supermarket.

The officer spotted the pair at Morrisons in Eastfield and followed one of them as she left the store with a trolley full of unpaid goods.

Rebecca Mitchell, 28, had loaded the trolley with £263 worth of items including household essentials and rump steaks.

The mother-of-three told the officer she had forgotten to pay for the goods and agreed to follow him back into the store, where she was quizzed by the duty manager, York Crown Court heard.

She was arrested and charged with theft, but pleaded her innocence. A jury found her guilty on Thursday after a two-day trial.

Prosecutor Ms Alistari said Mitchell had covered the stolen goods with a blanket before leaving the store without paying on July 29 last year.

She said Mitchell, of Cross Street, Scarborough, couldn’t afford to pay because she was on benefits at the time.

Mitchell claimed that some of the items were Christmas presents and that she had gone back to her car to get a bank card.

Ms Alistari said Mitchell was with another woman who was given a police caution for theft.

Defence barrister Glen Parsons said Mitchell was otherwise a hard-working woman who had handled cash for various businesses and had no previous convictions.

She was fined £120 and made to pay a £20 victim surcharge following the jury’s guilty verdict.