An Armagh mother who claimed she shoplifted because of her child’s “behavioural problems” has been told by a judge: “You cannot blame your child to get you out of this.”
Karen Bernadette Lennon, of Mulacreevey Road, pleaded guilty to theft at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court.
Wednesday’s sitting heard that on February 7 police were called to the report of a shoplifter at Tesco at the Meadows Shopping Centre in Portadown.
Officers spoke with security who said they saw the 38-year-old defendant with her children at the store.
They stated the two children had been playing with wacky string and a toy helicopter, which Lennon had removed from its box.
It was stated that the defendant then proceeded through the checkout without paying for the items.
Lennon was cautioned, and the police were called.
During a notebook interview with officers, the defendant said she had been at a party at McDonald’s with the children which is where they got the wacky string.
She also said she had not realised she had walked through the checkout without paying for the toy helicopter.
Defence counsel stated Lennon accepted she did not pay for the items and claimed “behavioural problems” of one of her children as a reason.
He stated the defendant “did not want to say no even though she knew she could not afford it”.
It was revealed the defendant had previous of some vintage but had been issued a caution in January of this year.
On this occasion, defence counsel claimed the items stolen had been food and this had been done as she was “suffering financially”.
District Judge Paul Copeland warned Lennon: “You cannot blame your child to get you out of this.”
“With your record, you ought to be a lot more vigilant,” he added.
Lennon was handed a conditional discharge for two years.