Single mums nicked £2,000 worth of toiletries to cope with cost of living crisis

A pair of single mothers will not face jail time despite nicking thousands of pounds worth of items from high street store Boots.

Kelly Rowlands and Stephanie Goulding stole washing, cleaning and cosmetics items from branch of Boots in Southport, Merseyside.

The pair, who are 41 and 34 respectively, claimed they committed the crime because they were “struggling” with the current cost of living crisis.

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The pair also told Sefton Magistrates' Court that they are single mothers and that there is a lack of child maintenance from their children's fathers.

They admitted their crimes, and were ordered to complete 12-month community orders – they were also not made to pay for the items they stole as they disputed the total value of gear stolen.

It was not made clear in court how the pair knew each other but they stole washing, cleaning and cosmetic products during separate trips to the same branch of Boots.

Prosecutor Tanya Berridge-Burley said: “The first offence to take place was on January 25 in the community of Merseyside where the defendant stole goods from Boots the chemist amounting to approximately £1,800.

“Then on March 10, 2022 from the same venue, they stole toiletries to the value of £454.36.

“Initially, the defence disputed the amount of the value of £1,800 on the first charge, but accepted the value of the second charge.

“The CPS maintained the women stole £1,800 worth of goods on the first occasion.”

Mitigating, defence solicitor Christopher Mantle said that both defendants were “struggling financially” at the time when the cost of living was “soaring through the roof”.

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He told the court: “The defendants have to appreciate that whether they are struggling or not – and I'm sure the court will have some sympathy for them – the majority of people do not resort to offending.

“Both defendants are single parents, both have two dependent children and have none or little support from the children's fathers.

"Both defendants – and the fact that both have been out of trouble for a long period of time – would say that they were simply struggling.

“Both concede that they had gone out and entered the store with the purpose of taking the items to resell to deal with their financial difficulties.”

Rowlands was also ordered to complete 80 hours unpaid work, and pay £180 in costs and victim surcharge, while Goulding was also fined £80 and ordered to pay a £95 victim surcharge.

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