Derbyshire heroin addict guilty of shoplifting after ‘death threats’

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A Derbyshire woman who claimed she would be killed if she did not pay off a drug debt has been found guilty of shoplifting hundreds of pounds worth of goods from a supermarket.

Angela Lane, 43, of Beighton Street, Ripley, was convicted at Chesterfield magistrates’ court on Friday, June 24 following a trial, after stating a defence of duress.

She was found guilty of stealing £428.70 of shopping from Sainsbury’s in Ripley on April 23 this year.

The magistrates accepted that Lane had been threatened, but said that they could not be convinced that any other ‘reasonable’ person in her position would have acted in the same way and that she should have reported the threats to the police.

The court heard that Lane owed a drug dealer £220 for heroin.

“I was petrified,” Lane said. “He made it crystal clear I would not be walking again and that he would make an example of me.”

Lane said that the dealer had seen a story in a newspaper last year, in which she stole food items worth more than £1,000 and that she could pay off the debt by doing it again.

CCTV footage played in court showed Lane selecting specific items from a list on her phone, which she says the dealer text her. She then left without paying.

Prosecuting, Ian Shaw, said: “She was seen by a security guard and ran off but was detained by police.”

In mitigation, Lane said that she had been doing “really well” to stay off the class A drug, but relapsed in December 2015 after precancerous cells were found on her voice box.

Lane said that she had lost “everything” to heroin, including her daughter who was previously taken into care, but was in attendance in court.

Lane was given a 12 month community order with a four week curfew and ordered to pay £420 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.