Two mothers stole a total of £1,500 worth of goods after embarking on a series of shoplifting expeditions at the same department store – to see if they could ‘get away with it.’
Sarah Boardman, 35, and Natalie Graham, 34, stole items including clothing, children’s outfits and homeware from a Next store in Handforth Dean, near Stockport, Greater Manchester, between January 31 and February 7 last year.
In one incident staff at the branch found at least 35 discarded security tags on the floor after the pair ran out with £400 worth of goods.
The best friends, who carried out the shoplifting after another mother showed them how to escape without being detected, were finally arrested after they were spotted hiding behind a Range Rover before jumping into their red VW Golf getaway car.
They drove off but it is thought police were given their car registration number.
Sarah Boardman, 35, and Natalie Graham, 34, stole a total of £1,500 worth of goods after embarking on a series of shoplifting expeditions at a Next store. Pictured: Natalie Graham (left) and Sarah Boardman (right)
From January 31 to February 7 the pair were involved in three shoplifting sprees at the branch
At Stockport magistrates court, mother-of-three Boardman, of Bowdon near Altrincham, and mother-of-four Graham, of Sale, each admitted three charges of theft but claimed the total value of the items were £700.
What did the mothers steal?
On January 31 – the mothers enter the store at around 11.42 am and steal £255 worth of items
Large laundry basket
A man’s coat
Two pairs of lady’s pyjamas
Three men’s trousers
A bath mat
The mothers re-enter and steal £245 worth of items
On February 5 – the pair enter at 1.28pm and then re-enter the store for the second time taking an estimated £600 worth of items
One large black cuddly toy leopard
A small cuddly black toy leopard
Pictures and mirrors
Children’s wear including a child’s coat
February 7 – the mothers enter the store at 1.32pm and steal an estimated £400 worth of items
Three pairs of pyjamas
A child’s coat
Both were each ordered to pay £650 in compensation and will be electronically tagged for ten weeks as part of a 9pm-6am curfew.
They were further ordered to each complete 12 month community orders and pay £175 in costs. It is thought their jobs as carers are now in jeopardy.
Inquiries revealed the two women had been involved in three shoplifting sprees in the space of a week and investigators subsequently examined CCTV footage which captured the pair as they repeatedly sneaked in and out of store without paying for various consumer items.
The incidents took place between January 31 and February 7 last year after the pair went on days out to the retail park where Next has a £75,000 square foot fashion and home store.
Michelle Julien a loss prevention officer at Next, said: ‘On January 31 they entered the store at 11.42am and they left at 11.57am before re-entering again at 12.03pm and then leaving again at 12,17pm.
‘They went to the homeware section first and took a large laundry basket, two mirrors, a man’s coat, two pairs of lady’s pyjamas, three men’s trousers, a bath mat, slippers, girls outfits and other items.
‘They took £255 worth the first time they entered the store before taking this to their car and then stole £245 worth of items in the child wear section when they re-entered.
‘On February 5, they entered at 1.28pm and returned to their car for 1.40pm. They then re-entered the store for the second time and left at 1.58pm without making any payment.
‘On the first occasion, they used a Next shopping trolley and fitted numerous items from the homeware department in it including one large black cuddly toy leopard, a small cuddly black toy leopard, pictures and mirrors.
‘When they took the trolley back to the car, they returned with the in-store Next shopping bags and they were on route to the children’s wear department when I noticed them.
‘I returned to the front of the store and looked at the CCTV to find they were hid behind a Range Rover.
‘On the second occasion coming into the store, they took children’s wear and ladies wear.
‘On February 7, they entered the store at 1.32pm and again left without making payment. They targeted the same items of pyjamas etc again.
‘I could see that they were taking the security tags off the items. I found a total of 35 pins & security tags in one corner.
At Stockport magistrates court, Sarah Boardman (left), of Bowdon near Altrincham, and Natalie Graham (right), of Sale, each admitted three charges of theft
The pair were each ordered to pay £650 in compensation and will be electronically tagged for ten weeks
The pair carried out the thefts at Next branch in Handforth Dean in Greater Manchester, between January 31 and February 7 last year
‘They had taken three pairs of pyjamas, a child’s coat & ladies underwear from what I could see from the CCTV footage. The value was estimated at £400 – but it could have been more.’
Miss Julien added: ‘I recognised the two females from their car registration and they were in a red Golf. I retraced what they did on each occasion from the CCTV images.
‘I was not watching them commit the offence live. I look around the store for security tags in pockets every day and on the last occasion there were at least 35 tags found in the children’s wear corner, some were in dressing gown pockets and some were on the floor. It only takes one second to de-tag an item – there could have been more tags.’
Boardman denied de-tagging items but told the hearing: ‘I remember taking jeans, a coat, a bath mat and a mirror and taking them to the car but I was going through a hard time financially in my life at the time.
‘I did not total up the cost of the items at the time as we were not going to sell them on – they were for personal use. I have had an operation on my back so I am quite poorly and I have had a lot going on.’
Graham said: ‘I was de-tagging, but saying I removed 35 tags is just ridiculous. I admit I was in the store on each occasion for around 15 minutes and I accept we put the items in the car and went back in to get more.
‘But there was not enough time to remove 35 tags in one minute. We were not looking for the tags, we were just picking up the items we wanted as we were not selling them. The price of the items was irrelevant to us.’
In mitigation defence lawyer Lucy Crossman said: ‘They were making ends meet but that alone was not good enough for them. They had a friend who did it and she was effectively showing off because she had been taking items from the store for her child.
‘They were not caught at first and they thought they could get away with it again. They did not know the value because they were not selling them on.’
She added: ‘This was a blip and this is not going to happen again. But they will now be unable to get a job with this on their record.
‘They were both in a financial situation at the time but up until now, they have both had stable careers as carers. They will have to find other employment.’