Woman thanks magistrates for sparing her jail

A RECOVERING alcoholic thanked magistrates who allowed her suspended sentence to continue despite her pleading guilty to theft charges.

Gemma Peach told magistrates that she “couldn’t thank them enough” after she was told she wouldn’t be handed a custodial sentence at Worcester Magistrates Court.

The 26-year-old pleaded guilty to theft of a £100 pedal cycle from a communal area of a flat, stealing perfume and cosmetics worth £106.13 from Boots and taking a £14 bottle of vodka from Iceland.

The court heard that on September 18 a teenager had left his bike in the communal area of a block of flats where his grandfather lived. He returned to find it had been taken and witnesses said they had seen Peach and another woman walking away with the bike.

She admitted that they had been drunk and taken the bike before taking it to a pub to sell it.

Peach, of Littlehill, Chawson, Droitwich, was seen acting suspiciously in Boots on December 3 after picking up a Lacoste gift box worth £25 and trying to remove the security tag.

CCTV footage showed she had in fact also stolen a Boots “bag for life” and placed in it the Lacoste set, a baby changing bag and another gift set which the court was told were meant as Christmas presents for friends.

On Monday, Peach was stopped by security guards after trying to leave supermarket Iceland with a £14 bottle of vodka.

Martin McNamara, defending, explained that Peach had been using class A drugs from the age of 15. “She managed to free herself of that but unfortunately it was replaced with alcohol. However, she believes she’s done with that now.”

He said her one-year-old daughter was providing the motivation for Peach to end her addiction but it would take a long time before she was fully recovered.

McNamara added that she had stuck to the curfew imposed on her following a previous court case and was completing a detox programme.

Chairman Fiona James extended Peach’s suspended sentence to last for two years as well as ordering her to pay £100 compensation for the bike, £106.13 to Boots and £85 court costs.

She ordered her to carry out 50 hours of unpaid work for the bicycle theft, 50 hours of unpaid work for the theft from Boots and 40 hours of unpaid work for the theft from Iceland, all to run concurrently.

Mrs James said: “I am sure you realise you have been very lucky today and if it happens again you would be unlikely to find a bench to make that kind of sentence again.” As she left, Peach thanked the magistrates, adding: “I appreciate it.”

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