Shop manager kicked in ‘tug of war’ with thief in King’s Lynn

The crest above the entrance to King's Lynn Court in College Lane. ENGANL00120120910143711
The crest above the entrance to King's Lynn Court in College Lane. ENGANL00120120910143711

Rebecca Wain, of London Road, pleaded guilty to the two offences which took place at Farmfoods in August, at Lynn’s Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

The court heard that Wain had received a six-week sentence in January, suspended for a year, and by committing further offences during this period was in breach of it.

Fergus Harold, prosecuting, said that Wain had been spotted by a checkout worker who realised she had taken items without paying for them, and alerted the retail manager of the store.

Magistrates were told that the manager, Luke Skeels, went to challenge Wain and asked if he could look in her bag, to which she said no, following which there was a “tug of war” with the bag for about five minutes.

“She then made a threat that she would knock him out – she took a swing at him which hit him on his head. It didn’t cause him pain but he was shocked,” Mr Harold said.

The manager was then kicked and headbutted, neither of which caused him visible injury but did also cause shock.

Wain, who has nine previous theft convictions, stole various goods from the shop to the value of just over £12, which were recovered.

Mr Harold said that in police interview, Wain had said she had been hungry, and had stolen the items in order to sell them on for half of the retail price.

Alison Muir, mitigating, said that Wain had a troubled past – including drug addiction and domestic violence.

“She had been living in Boston with her mother and they got on well for a short period of time, but she has moved back and now has permanent accomodation,” Ms Muir added.

The court heard that the victim, while effectively assaulted three times, received no injuries and there was no pain caused.

Ms Muir said: “She’s a very bright girl and is well-spoken, and she has been told that she’s wasting her life, and that she could do an awful lot more but she hasn’t seized on those opportunities. Sadly there’s nothing that probation can do for her anymore.”

Concluding, she added: “The only thing I would ask you is would you find it unjust to send her to prison today?”

In sentencing, presiding magistrate David Foreman said: “You are not going in to custody today – you have been a lucky girl.”

Mr Foreman added that as there had been a very low level of theft and there were no injuries caused to the victim, it would be unjust to send her to prison.

He said: “Had it been different, you know where you would have been going today.”

Magistrates extended Wain’s suspended sentence so that it would end in 12 months’ time, and ordered her to pay £100 in compensation to the victim, and a further £45 in costs.