A YOUNG mother stole clothes and food to protect her children, a court heard.
Denise Margaret Coll, of Unicorn Road, Oswestry admitted taking the goods from Moreton Park Garden Centre but claimed she had done so because a gang had forced her to under a “protection order”.
Coll, 23, was told false claims would be made against her, so her children would be taken away if she did not do as she was told.
Sara Beddow told Shrewsbury Magistrates Court the details of the incident, which happened on February 20.
“The defendant selected a jumper, socks and some food from the displays before putting them in her bag,” she said.
“She proceeded to leave without paying and set off the alarms at the door.
“Staff stopped her outside and she produced the goods.
“She admitted stealing them straight away during interview, and told police it was a spur of the moment decision and apologised,” she added.
Ceri Lewis, defending, asked the magistrates to give Coll credit for her “full and frank admission” and her remorse.
“There was a reason behind what she did,” Miss Lewis said.
“When she was young she was involved in drug taking, with a Liverpool drugs circle particularly.
“They’ve come back onto the scene again now and they put her children under a ‘protection order’ and told her they would be taken from her.
“As a result she’s gone and done what she was told by these people.
“But she has admitted it was wrong despite the circumstances,” she added.
The court heard Coll was on medication for depression and was a full time carer for her children and her partner who suffered from schizophrenia.
It was also revealed Coll was in the process of reporting those responsible for threatening her.
After studying her record, presiding magistrate Peter Amis told Coll she had a “propensity for dishonesty” but gave her “the opportunity to demonstrate this was an aberration” by issuing her with a conditional discharge.
All the goods were recovered and put back on the shelf on the day of the incident so there was no compensation order made.
But she was ordered to pay £40 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.