Shoplifting nan ‘turning her life around’ tells judge she is ‘tired of it all’

A grandmother-of-four who is “turning her life around” after facing a string of more than 15 charges has told a judge she is “tired of it all now”.

Leanne Stapleton, 40, of Victoria Care House, Middlesbrough, appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court to face 16 charges she allegedly committed in the space of less than two months.

The 40-year-old, who gave birth last month, was told there were limited options other than “immediate custody” for her crime spree earlier this year, TeessideLive reports.

The new mum previously admitted a number of thefts from Middlesbrough stores and proceedings were adjourned for a pre-sentence report.

She admitted stealing £18 worth of meat from Lidl and over £200 worth of toiletries from Superdrug.

Stapleton also helped herself to clothing from New Look, washing up gel and air fresheners from Wilkinsons and toiletries from Poundland.

District Judge Natalie Wortley said there was no "positive recommendation other than custody" after reading pre-sentence reports which were prepared earlier this year.

Belinda Dobson, mitigating, told how most items were "handed back to stores" by Stapleton or by police officers.

She added that the defendant's health has been "in the balance" over the last couple of months after enduring a "hit and run accident" whilst pregnant and giving birth in August.

Stapleton was also admitted into a care facility following the incident which has been her "saving grace" due to the "support and care" she is now receiving.

The court heard how the new-mum now has contact with her four-week-old baby three times per week and has various methods of support including a social worker and probation officer.

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"She presents the most healthy I've seen her in years," Ms Dobson added.

The defence solicitor told the district judge how the mother-of-five is "attempting to rehabilitate herself" and could qualify for a residential rehab facility.

The court heard how she is attempting to "turn her life around" and professionals are "extremely surprised" by her work recently.

Judge Wortley described it as a "highly unusual case" and stated the court would benefit from a fresh report from the probation service.

Stapleton's case was adjourned until October 29, and she was handed conditional bail until she next appears in court.

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