Rochester woman under Universal Credit sanction turned to shoplifting for food

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A woman turned to shoplifting for sustenance after her Universal Credit benefits were sanctioned, a court has heard.

Abigail Dearlove, 33, began stealing from Rochester-area Co-op stores in June and continued her spree for weeks while receiving no cash benefits.

Abigail Dearlove stole from three Co-op stores in Medway. Photo: Facebook

Dearlove, of Hoopers Road, Rochester, stole groceries, meat, liquor, washing and laundry products between June and July after his benefits were off for nine weeks.

She admitted to nine shoplifting offenses when she appeared before Medway magistrates on August 10.

Prosecutor Terry Knox said: “She was in financial trouble and needed food. There were issues with her Universal Credit.

“She stole food, alcohol and other items from three different stores.

“She apologized in interviews and admitted to the thefts and said there was no point in lying to the police.”

Abigail Dearlove started stealing when her universal credit stopped.  Photo: Facebook
Abigail Dearlove started stealing when her universal credit stopped. Photo: Facebook

He also revealed that she had received a number of warnings from the police for other theft offences.

The court also heard that she stole some of the items for food but stole others like 10 cans of Stella lager so she could sell them for cash after a miscommunication with the welfare agency caused his money to be stopped.

The magistrates told her that she had committed many offenses in a short time because she had found herself in an unusual situation and placed her on conditional release for two years.

Dearlove was not ordered to pay costs or a victim surcharge due to the financial difficulties she was facing.

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