‘Prolific’ Crawley shoplifter gets suspended sentence

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A ‘prolific shoplifter’ has been given a 12 week suspended prison sentence.

Rosa Calaca, 45, of Yew Court, Springfield Road, Southgate, yesterday (Wednesday July 8) pleaded guilty to three counts of theft from Wilkinsons and Morrisons in Crawley town centre.

Ann Deakin, prosecuting, said: “It could be said that this is a lady who is a prolific shoplifter - pre-planned and organised and obviously the Crown will respectfully submit that is an aggravating feature to the offences.”

Calaca stole cosmetics from Wilkinsons on March 27 and April 14 and health and beauty, and clothing items from Morrisons on June 18.

Crawley magistrates awarded £585.87 compensation to Wilkinsons after they heard the items had not been recovered.

Ms Deakin said Calaca put cosmetics in her bag and left the store in The Broadway without attempting to pay on both occasions.

She said Calaca was arrested after Morrisons staff saw her put ‘numerous’ health and beauty items and a ‘massive’ amount of clothing in a trolley. She covered them with a reuseable bag and left the High Street supermarket without attempting to pay.

Paul Luttman, defending, said Calaca’s pattern of offending was related to her drug addiction.

The court heard she came to the country from Portugal with her partner in 2002, who she now cares for.

He said: “They don’t have support from social services she tells me and there’s no family around and about to help them out.

“In my submission the prospects of rehabilitation are there, this would help Ms Calaca and the wider public in the offending.”

A probation officer said Calaca started shoplifting around the time she became addicted to heroin.

She stole to fund her and her partner’s addiction. Two or three drug rehabilitation courses had been successful but were followed by relapses.

The court heard Calaca was jailed after she breached a suspended sentence with rehabilitation requirements in 2004.

The probation officer said: “A custodial sentence would cause problems as she is the main carer for her partner.

“It’s far better that people take rehabilitation in the community because that is where the real world is.”

Crawley magistrates ordered Calaca to undergo drug rehabilitation and 15 days of activity requirements during the 12 months her jail term was suspended.

Elaine Richards, chairman of the bench, said Calaca was not jailed immediately because rehabilitation courses had stopped her stealing and she was the main carer for her partner.

She said: “You have been in prison and that hasn’t worked and you have had previous Drug Rehabilitation Requirement assessments and sometimes that has worked, sometimes it hasn’t.”

Calaca was warned JPs would not be ‘so lenient’ on her shop lifting were she to appear before the court again.

She was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £85, criminal court charge of £150 and £80 victim surcharge.

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