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King’s Lynn woman Julie Hanks attempted to conceal Home Bargains theft with can of hot dogs

A homeless woman attempted to disguise a discount store theft with a can of hot dogs – but was caught out by staff.

Lynn woman Julie Hanks, 35, of no fixed abode, appeared at the town’s magistrates’ court on Thursday charged with theft from a shop.

She pleaded guilty to the offence, which saw her steal nuts, beauty products and alcohol worth a combined £13.70 from Home Bargains on August 9.

Home Bargains in Lynn, where Julie Hanks stole from. Picture: Google Maps
Home Bargains in Lynn, where Julie Hanks stole from. Picture: Google Maps

Crown prosecutor Holly Postle said police were called to the Baxter’s Plain area in the town centre after Hanks’ theft.

A staff member at the store had witnessed the defendant enter the premises before selecting the items she would go on to steal, placing them in a bag.

Hanks then picked up a can of hot dogs, and proceeded to pay for them – but nothing else.

She was with another man at the time, who was also prosecuted for the offence. The staff member attempted to speak to them, but Hanks said she “didn’t feel well” and proceeded to leave the store.

She was subsequently arrested when police arrived.

Hanks breached three separate conditional discharges by committing the theft. To deal with this, magistrates – led by Paul Redhead – fined her £5 for each breach.

She was then fined £20 for the theft, and ordered to pay £32 in legal costs and an £8 victim surcharge. Her co-defendant had already been ordered to pay compensation to Home Bargains.

In mitigation, Andrew Cogan said that although the defendant’s three breaches were “not particularly helpful”, the fact they were all handed out this year “pertains that something is not quite right with Ms Hanks”.

“At the time, she was homeless, she had left an offending, domestically violent relationship, and her co-accused has already appeared in court,” the solicitor said.

“It is fair to say that she went into Home Bargains because she was hungry and thirsty. As a chronic alcoholic, she did not have any money at the time.

“She is now in touch with the Purfleet Trust (in Lynn), and they are hopefully getting her accommodation. She aims to get back on the straight and narrow.”

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