Prolific Cheltenham shoplifter Natasha Benson jailed for stealing again
PROLIFIC shoplifter Natasha Benson has been locked up after stealing £232 worth of cosmetics from Boots – while on a suspended prison sentence for previous thefts.
The 33-year-old has had her one-year jail sentence activated after CCTV from the Tewkesbury store caught the theft, before she was approached by a security guard.
Benson, of Scholars Court in Alstone, Cheltenham, had originally been ordered to spend a year behind bars after continually stealing from supermarkets and shops across the county – even when she was banned from all retailers. But Recorder Robert Linford overturned the mum-of-two's prison sentence in June and suspended it for two years, after she had served just seven weeks behind bars.
Benson was given the reprieve in June after Gloucester Crown Court was told she would lose her home if she stayed in prison – making her 17-year-old daughter homeless. However, on September 9 Benson blew her freedom by stealing from the Boots in Tewkesbury.
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On Monday she appeared at Gloucester Crown Court again and was ordered by Recorder Ros Collins to serve the sentence.
An additional sentence of 16 weeks, to run consecutively, was put in place for the new theft.
On Monday, Sarah Jenkins, defending Benson, told the court she had been in an abusive relationship, needed the money for her drug addiction and was currently three months pregnant.
During the hearing in June, prosecutor Edward Hetherington told the court: "She got into financial difficulty and was stealing to save her from eviction proceeding.
"She is known as a prolific shoplifter and a lady with a drug dependency."
Explaining his decision to overturn the sentence in June, Recorder Linford told the court: "We are not doing it because we have any sympathy for the thief that appears in front of us, but there is more to be said of what is hanging over her if she puts her thieving hands on anyone else's property."
The court had heard Benson had breached a community order and failed to surrender to police bail when committing the crime spree for which she was given the original one-year sentence.
During this string of thefts, she stole £229.16 worth of alcohol and food on February 19 from Waitrose in Stroud.
On March 10, she stole four bottles of Courvoisier brandy, a food processor and a bouquet of flowers, worth a total of £560, from Waitrose in Cheltenham.
On March 19 she pushed a full trolley of goods out of the door of Tesco in Fosse Way, Stow-on-the-Wold, before two hours later returning to Cheltenham and taking nine pairs of jeans and 30 T-shirts from Gap on the Promenade, worth nearly £750.
On April 20 she went into the Debenhams store based in Gloucester city centre where she took bottles of Ralph Lauren along with other perfumes worth £160 in total.