A CRACK addict mum used her pushchair to conceal stolen sports gear during a shoplifting spree in Worcester – but was let go because she had a child with her.

Zoe Clark stole items of clothing worth £185.97 from Sports Direct in Worcester, using a carrier bag on her push chair to hide the items, planning to give them to her kids for Christmas.

The 32-year-old mother-of-three, previously of Worcester, admitted theft from the city's sports shop and theft from TK Maxx in Kidderminster when she appeared before magistrates on Thursday.

Dawn Foxall, prosecuting, said a group of women, including Clark, had entered the Worcester store on October 24 last year, removing security tags from items of clothing.

Mrs Foxall said: “She concealed the items in a large carrier bag hanging from her push chair.”

The security gate alarms activated when she left the store and a security guard approached her. An alert was put out over the security network and Clark and other women were detained and subjected to a search and the goods recovered.

“She had a young child with her so the decision was made to let her go and arrange a voluntary interview at a later date,” said Miss Foxall.

In interview Clark fully admitted stealing the items. “She stated that the clothes for her children for Christmas” said Mrs Foxall.

Clark, now of Easthope Close, Stourport, also stole £102 worth of ‘miscellaneous’ items from TK Maxx in Kidderminster on November 28 last year. Again ‘various items were concealed in a carrier bag hanging from the handles of her push chair’ said Mrs Foxall.

Clark was part of a team of three women who entered the store, the prosecutor describing the theft as 'joint enterprise' which magistrates took as an aggravating feature within the guidelines. The items were recovered and again Clark made full admissions.

“Again she was released because of having a small child with her” said Mrs Foxall.

David Howarth, the duty solicitor, said there had been prolific offending up until 2016 ‘which reflects the fact she had quite a serious heroin addiction’.

He said she had three children and added: “She doesn’t get any support from the father. She got drawn back into crack cocaine on this occasion which has been the catalyst for her offending.”

The solicitor said she had not used crack cocaine since May. She is on benefits, receiving Universal Credit.

Magistrates gave her a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered her to pay £135 costs and a victim surcharge of £21.

They made no compensation order because all goods were recovered.