Police caught two desperate offenders as they were trying to steal donated goods that had been left at a charity shop.
Dale Wright, 37, and Victoria Harvey, 31, were spotted by police outside the British Heart Foundation shop, on Firs Parade, at Matlock, with a vehicle full of clothing and children’s toys.
Prosecuting solicitor Lynn Bickley told a Chesterfield magistrates’ court hearing on Wednesday, April 18: “Police officers were on duty on Steep Tunrpike, at Matlock, and it was 1.20am when they located a vehicle in a car park with its boot open near the BHF store.”
The Ford Focus contained a number of items, according to Mrs Bickley, including clothing and children’s toys which had originally been left by others at the rear of the shop as donations.
Mrs Bickley added: “The manager of the BHF store said the clothes were of a type and quality that would have been sold at the store and people had left them at the rear of the store and they belonged to the charity shop.”
Wright, of Garrett Green, Danesmoor, admitted they were aiming to sell the goods on at a car boot sale and Harvey, of Cemetery Road, Danesmoor, said they had been looking at charity bins because she believed the stores threw away unwanted items.
Both defendants pleaded guilty to attempting to steal items belonging to the BHF charity shop after the incident on December 7, last year.
Wright also admitted using a vehicle without insurance.
Defence solicitor Denny Lau said Wright had undergone a double hernia operation and his benefits were stopped because he had failed to undergo an assessment with the JobCentre so he decided to steal the goods to raise money.
Mr Lau added that Harvey had lost her home, had been left in debt and had became homeless after a relationship breakdown.
Harvey had also struggled without benefits for a period, according to Mr Lau, but she is now living with a friend and is back on benefits.
Magistrates sentenced Wright to a 12 month community order with a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and 40 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay an £85 victim surcharge and £85 costs.
He was also banned from driving for six months.
Harvey received a community order to last until January, 2019, with a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement. She was also fined £40 and must pay £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.