Thief admits ‘I’m too old for this’ after stealing from Primark and M&S in spree

A drug addict who threatened to punch a shop assistant and stab another with a needle has apparently seen the error of her ways, professing that she's "too old for all this".

Kendra Gibson, 43, went on a crime spree around Middlesborough, targeting high street shops including Primark and Marks & Spencer, where she found herself in several "tug of wars" with staff members over items.

But after two weeks in custody she has taken a step back from drugs and now has a better perspective, Teesside Magistrates' Court heard.

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Gibson's recent spate of thefts began on January 8 when she walked into the One Beyond Store in Hill Street Shopping Centre, nabbing shaving foam, socks and gloves, which amounted to £10.

Heather Willis, prosecuting, said Gibson was stopped by staff members and asked to put the items back.

She said: "Gibson threatened to punch them and they therefore didn't attempt to stop her any further."

The next day, Gibson entered an M&S and grabbed an armful of nightwear, worth £220, before a staff member on his break spotted her heading towards the exit.

He tried to stop her and a "tug of war" began but she managed to break free and left the store – but fortunately, the items were recovered.

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Gibson was caught on CCTV later that day walking into a Primark and could be seen on camera taking off her shoes and swapping them for a display pair, worth £28.

She headed for the door but was confronted by staff members, who she verbally abused.

A customer service manager tried to reason with her but she started flailing her arms around, hitting him on the left temple.

Another shop assistant grabbed her feet and was able to remove one of the shoes. The other shoe was recovered and a second pair, also stolen from the store, was found in her bag.

Gibson then threw a pen at a staff member, which hit him in the face.

On January 15, Gibson entered a Wilko's branch in Captain Cook Square and shoplifted £50 worth of make-up.

She tried to leave the store but was cornered by a member of staff, prompting another tug of war, the court heard.

Ms Willis said: "The defendant then moved her mouth to above his hand, making him believe he was going to be bitten."

The staff member then moved his hands and Gibson slammed her fist onto them in a "hammer strike" that caused him to release his grip.

Gibson could be heard shouting "I'll stab you with this needle" to other staff members.

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All of the items apart from those from One Beyond were eventually recovered.

Neil Douglas, representing Gibson, said this was a "difficult case to mitigate".

He said: "Ms Gibson is currently subject to a community order that did not appear to achieve any impact on her behaviour. You can probably detect an escalation."

He highlighted Gibson's addiction to crack cocaine and added that she lost her sister last year, which has caused her to deal with the grief by turning to drugs.

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Mr Douglas added: "She has been in prison, not for a long time but it has given her a break. She has obviously been drug-free for two weeks, she feels a lot better for that."

"She has herself professed that she is 'too old for all of this'. She can see now because she has broken out of that cycle."

Gibson pleaded guilty to three counts of assault by beating, one count of using threatening behaviour to cause fear or provoke unlawful violence and four counts of theft.

Gibson was sentenced to 18 weeks behind bars, suspended for 18 months.

An existing community order, put in place days before her recent stealing spree, will remain in place and includes 22 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a six-month drug rehabilitation requirement.

She will pay £50 to each victim of assault.

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