40-year-old gran claimed she was ‘tired of crime’ – then broke law again within days

Gran-of-four Leanne Stapleton told a Teesside judge she was turning her life around, just days before embarking on yet another shoplifting spree

A grandmother-of-four who is “addicted” to shoplifting told a judge she was turning her life around, just days before embarking on another crime spree.

Leanne Stapleton, 40, was told there were limited options other than immediate custody for her string of more than 15 charges in September.

However, the new mum was given a second chance when a judge asked for fresh reports to be prepared and she replied: “I’m actually tired of it all now”.

The 40-year-old grandmother-of-four appeared in the dock, flanked by one female officer, at Tee Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

Sobbing Stapleton had been remanded into custody on Monday after committing a string of further offences while on police and court bail.

The crack cocaine-fuelled thief had previously admitted stealing £18 worth of meat from Lidl and over £200 worth of toiletries from Superdrug.

Stapleton also helped herself to clothing from New Look , washing up gel and air fresheners from Wilkinsons and toiletries from Poundland.

And one of the offences – pinching shampoo from Boyes – happened on September 21, days after proclaiming she wanted to stop her criminal ways.

Along with the string of robbery offences, Stapleton was guilty of failing to answer to court bail and police on July 17.

Belinda Dobson, mitigating, told how most items were “handed back to stores” by Stapleton or by police officers.

She added that the defendant’s health has been “in the balance” over the last couple of months after enduring a “hit and run accident” whilst pregnant and giving birth in August.

Stapleton was also admitted into a care facility following the incident which has been her “saving grace” due to the “support and care” she is now receiving.

The court heard how the new-mum now has contact with her four-week-old baby three times per week and has various methods of support including a social worker and probation officer.

“She presents the most healthy I’ve seen her in years,” Ms Dobson added.

The defence solicitor told the district judge how the mother-of-five is “attempting to rehabilitate herself” and could qualify for a residential rehab facility.

The court heard how she is attempting to “turn her life around” and professionals are “extremely surprised” by her work recently.

Judge Wortley described it as a “highly unusual case” and stated the court would benefit from a fresh report from the probation service.

Stapleton’s case was adjourned until October 29, and she was handed conditional bail until she next appears in court.