Drunk mum caught on CCTV stealing charity box in front of her five-year-old son

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A drunken mother took her five-year-old-son with her when she stole charity collection boxes from two shops.

Paula Barker, 31, was caught on CCTV stealing a British Heart Foundation charity box from The Eden Mobility store on Westgate on May 15, city magistrates were told.

Around 15 minutes later, Barker was again caught on camera stealing an Action for Blind People charity box from opticians Dollond & Aitchison.

Prosecutor Amanda Harris said optician staff confronted Barker and asked to look in her white handbag.

Mrs Harris said: “Her young child asked: ‘Do you have to give it back?’ to which the defendant replied: ‘Yes, because I don’t want to get arrested again’.”

Earlier Barker went into the Eden Mobility store with her son, claiming she was intending to buy a scooter for her grandfather.

The court heard Barker asked staff for an item in the back of the shop. Staff could tell she was very drunk.

Miss Harris added: “She took the charity box, which was a collection for the heart foundation. She took the charity box and the matter was later discovered when CCTV was checked.”

Barker, of Beckley Road, Darnley, admitted two charges of theft and a further two thefts after stealing cans of lager from Sainsbury’s.

She also admitted stealing items worth £75 from Lloyds Pharmacy in Wakefield on July 12.

Mitigating Rob Fones said: “She has had a problem with drugs. Alcohol has been an issue as well.”

Barker was sentenced to a 12-month community order with a 12-month drug treatment programme.