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Gloucestershire Business News

‘One more chance’ for shoplifter with 170-plus offences

A notorious shoplifter has been given "one final chance" to turn her life around after a judge heard she is finally drug free for the first time since she was about 12 years old.

Alisha Parke, 30, of no fixed abode, had been warned by Judge Michael Cullum at a previous hearing that probation could see no alternative to an immediate jail term for five offences of shoplifting and five breaches of a criminal behaviour order.

All of those offences were committed straight after she was released from prison for earlier crimes.

But at Gloucester Crown Court Judge Timothy Moseley - after hearing the story of her turbulent and troubled life - decided to defer sentencing for three months to give Parke a chance to prove she wants to change.

Prosecuting, Susan Cavender said the first of her latest series of offences were on March 21 when she shoplifted an unknown amount of items from Superdrug and Fat Face in Cheltenham.

On that same day she also stole hair straighteners worth £130 from the Sally's Hair and Beauty shop. And she took an electric toothbrush and cosmetics from Superdrug on 23rd March to the value of £235.

On April 12 she set off an alarm in Tesco and was found with £159 worth of goods on her and on April 13 she was seen on CCTV in The Range fiddling with curtains. It was found £94 of curtains had been stolen.

She subsequently stole £80 worth of Easter Eggs from W.H Smith on April 15, a £32 top from Oasis on the same day and four bottles of spirits worth £100 on 17th April.

"On all occasions she was recognised by store staff," Miss Cavender told the court.

The court heard that Parke has a 'very heavy list' of similar offences - 47 convictions for 172 offences.

Defending, Guy Wyatt said Parke has had a very "traumatic life."

Asking for a deferred sentence now his client is finally drug free he said he realised it was an unusual request but his client now believes the time is right because this is the first time she has ever been drug free.

Mr Wyatt told the court that Parke was trained to shoplift by her mother from the age of 12.

"Her mother had a catastrophic drug addiction to Class A drugs. My client was let down by social services. They were slow to act and left her in a situation where she was exposed to drug taking and theft as a lifestyle."

Mr Wyatt said Parke had become involved in a relationship with a drug addict and had three children who have since been adopted.

"Although it is of great sadness to be separated from her children she knows social services served those children better than her."

Sentencing, Judge Moseley told Parke that he believes she poses a risk of committing yet further offences.

"It seems to be a case of history repeating itself in your case," he said.

"I have been urged to impose a deferred sentence. I am very hesitant in doing it with your history, which shows I might be setting you up to fail.

"You say you want a chance to prove yourself but you have had many chances to prove yourself.

"I am just about persuaded to give you one last chance" Judge Moseley told her.

Deferring her sentence until 16th August for Judge Cullum to deal with on that date, the judge warned her "I am not making any promises about the sentence you will receive."

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