A PERSISTENT shoplifter who targeted stores in Teignmouth and Newton Abbot has been given a final chance to tackle her drug problem.

Lucy Hanks walked out of supermarkets carrying large amounts of wine and ignored staff who tried to stop her during a two months spree, Exeter Crown Court was told.

She put herself at risk of being sent to jail because she was already on a suspended sentence for perverting the course of justice.

Hanks was spared jail by Judge Stephen Climie after he heard she had carried out the thefts under pressure from a man with whom she was in an abusive relationship.

She was also in a state of emotional turmoil because of issues with her two children, who had both been taken into care.

Hanks, 37, formerly of Bitton Park Road, Teignmouth, now living at a hostel, admitted five thefts and was ordered to receive six months of drug rehabilitation treatment by Judge Climie.

He told her: ‘It is exhausting to have to hear and read these life stories, heaven knows what it is like for you to have to deal with them. In your case you dealt with things very badly and risked going to prison.


‘A lot of your offending seems driven by others, those who abuse you and you need to get out of that cycle as you have done before in the past. You need to stay away from males of the species who do you no favours.’

Mr Lewis Aldous, prosecuting, said the shoplifting offences happened at the Coop in Newton Abbot and the Tesco Express in Teignmouth, mostly involving large amounts of wine. A business impact statement from Tesco said she had been abusive and taunting towards staff.

Hanks was also caught on a doorbell camera stealing two Amazon parcels containing gifts worth more than £200 from outside a house in Bitton Park Road, Teignmouth. All offences happened in January and February of this year.

Mr Paul Dentith, defending, said Hanks had a very difficult personal background which included suffering domestic violence. She is now working with probation and drug services and has stayed out of trouble since February.