NINE DAYS after being given a conditional discharge for theft and threatening behaviour a homeless woman was caught stealing from Marks and Spencer.

Blackburn magistrates heard Concheta Louveina Gretch was recognised by a security officer as a regular shoplifter as soon as she entered the store.

Gretch, 36, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to stealing sunglasses worth £129.

She was made subject to a community order for nine months with 15 days rehabilitation activity requirement.

She was excluded from Marks and Spencer in Blackburn for nine months.

Ben Leach, defending, said his client was having significant problems in her life.

She was thrown out of her hostel accommodation because she could not afford the top-up after her benefits were stopped.

"That was because she missed an appointment with the Department of Work and Pensions and she has found herself homeless and living hand to mouth.," said Mr Leach.

"She tells me there are limited hostel places for women in Blackburn and she is desperate for some help. She needs some intervention or the problem will continue."