Grantham court: Serial shoplifter sent to jail after stealing a toy car

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A serial shoplifter has been sent to prison after breaching a suspended sentence by stealing a remote controlled car.

Nicola Dowell, 40, of Castlegate, Grantham, was told her “chickens had come home to roost” as she was sentenced to 12 weeks in prison at Grantham Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

Dowell admitted stealing a remote controlled car from Asda in Union Street, Grantham, on October 13 last year.

She also pleaded not guilty to two charges of theft from Store Twenty One in High Street, Grantham, on September 26 and October 3.

But as she was already serving a suspended sentence for a previous theft, imposed on July 30 last year, magistrates decided to pass sentence for the guilty plea straight away rather than wait for a trial to deal with the remaining charges she faces.

Talking over several interruptions from Dowell, chief magistrate Susan Painter said: “I’m afraid your chickens have come home to roost.

“There is no point putting it off for another three to four weeks.

“We can’t see that a bench in four weeks’ time would make any different decision.”

Dowell was sentenced to eight weeks in prison for breaching her suspended sentence and another four weeks for the theft of the remote controlled car.

In mitigation, Chris Pye-Smith said Dowell had a long history of drug issues. “At some periods of time she is better, and at other periods of time things are difficult again,” he said.

Mr Pye-Smith said Dowell was a full-time carer for her father, but had “a lot of issues; a lot of problems”.

Chris Payne, from the probation service, said Dowell’s engagement with a community order imposed at the time of her suspended sentence had “not been particularly good”.

He added: “I have had a lengthy conversation with the case manager who tells me that she’s gone out of her way to make home visits and do phone interviews but there are times when she literally cannot get hold of the defendant.”