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Couple who claimed they stole from Dover and Deal stores to feed themselves told to stop shoplifting and go to foodbank

A couple who claimed they stole to feed themselves were told by magistrates to stop shoplifting and to go to a foodbank instead.

Lisa Fitzgerald, 45, and Toby Fenton, 48, carried out a series of thefts across stores in Dover and Deal between August and December last year.

Lisa Fitzgerald stole from many shops in Dover and Deal
Lisa Fitzgerald stole from many shops in Dover and Deal

As well as groceries, Fitzgerald stole booze, chocolates and flowers.

Magistrates heard the pair, both of Anglers Drive, Sholden, Deal, used to be in a relationship.

The court was told that despite no longer being together, they were still friends, lived in the same home and had gone shoplifting as they had no food.

Fenton admitted three counts of shoplifting when he appeared at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on February 29, along with Fitzgerald.

She had been charged with a total of seven counts of shoplifting and admitted all of the offences during the same hearing.

Toby Fenton admitted three counts of shoplifting when he appeared in the dock
Toby Fenton admitted three counts of shoplifting when he appeared in the dock

While the pair were waiting to get into the dock they came into the courtroom and sat in the public gallery.

Fenton was seen using his vape while he was waiting for his case to come on and then, once in the dock, he had to be told by a magistrate to sit up and pay attention to proceedings as he he seemed to have nodded off.

The court heard the pair went to the Co-op in Deal on August 8, when they stole various groceries valued at £38.70. They both returned to the same store on August 19, when they stole £31.80 worth of groceries.

Then on October 9, the theives went to the BP Service Station in Deal and stole an unknown value of items from inside.

Magistrates were told Fitzgerald went out on her own another four times and stole from shops between August and December.

They heard she stole £20.45 of goods from the same Co-op in Deal on August 14. On November 25 she nipped into the Asda store in Dover and stole £50 of booze and chocolates from the shelves.

Then on December 17, Fitzgerald went back into the Asda store and stole £220 worth of alcohol and flowers, before then nipping to the Limekiln Petrol Station in Dover, on December 29, where she took £27.18 worth of food and alcohol from inside.

The court also heard Fenton had a long history of similar offences, was a Class A drug user and that he had been using crack and heroin for about 20 years. Magistrates were told he was now on a methadone prescription and had not used for 13 months.

They also heard he had moved from London to the Dover area and that he has some mental health issues, was on Universal Credit and receives about £1,000 a month.

Magistrates placed Fenton on a 12-month community order which will see him complete a drug rehabilitation requirement for six months and attend 15 rehabilitation sessions with probation.

They also ordered he pay £31.25 compensation for his half of the value of the goods the pair stole from the Co-op and the BP garage.

The bench were also told Fitzgerald was on a community order she’d been given for another offence and was doing well on it. They decided to keep her on that order, but also ordered her to pay £398.99 compensation to the shops she stole from.

As the pair were leaving the dock, the chairman of the bench said: "No more shoplifting - go to a foodbank."

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