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Shoplifters claim they resorted to stealing because of Universal Credit delays

Two shoplifters claim they were struggling so badly due to delays with the roll-out of Universal Credit benefits that they had to resort to stealing.

Chesterfield magistrates’ court heard on Thursday, July 12, how Charlotte Meakin, 24, and Wayne Ridley, 33, both of King Street, at Hodthorpe, stole bottles of gin from an Aldi store at Shirebrook and Meakin also admitted stealing a pressure washer from Wilkinsons at Clowne.

Chesterfield magistrates' court.

Chesterfield magistrates' court.

Defence solicitor David Gittins said: “This couple has always been on benefits paid fortnightly.

“At the time of these offences they were moved to Universal Credit and did not get paid for five weeks.

“They had to find £500 a month for a private rented accommodation and it was their first time on Universal Credit.

“This is the reason why they committed these offences.”

Mr Gittins added that the offences were not triggered by any drug or drink-related issues.

Meakin pleaded guilty to the theft of gin from Aldi on February 22 and she also admitted the theft of a pressure washer from Wilkinsons from April 2.

She was fined £120 and must pay £124.97 compensation, a £30 victim surcharge and £85 costs.

Ridley admitted the theft from Aldi.

He was fined £120 and must pay £85 costs, a £30 victim surcharge and £34.97 compensation.