A WOMAN waiting to be sentenced for shoplifting offences used a break in court proceedings to go shoplifting.

Blackburn magistrates heard that instead of returning to court after the lunch break Nicole Marie Gretch was in a police cell.

Gretch, 29, of Devon Close, Salford, pleaded guilty to theft of electric toothbrushes, an electric razor and a foot pad worth £559 from Boots, Blackburn, in July and £150 of clothing from JD Sports, Halifax, in May. On Wednesday she stole £150 of clothing from JD Sports, Blackburn. She was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months with 30 days rehabilitation activity requirement. She was ordered to pay £709 compensation.

The court heard the earlier offences were due to be sentenced on Wednesday morning but the case was adjourned until the afternoon because of lack of court time. Her solicitor later told the court she would not be returning because she had been arrested during the lunch break and was in Greenbank police station. Gretch appeared in custody the following morning and pleaded guilty to the new offence.

The chairman of the magistrates said the pre-sentence report prepared in connection with the earlier offences recommended a community order and they would have gone along with that but for the new offence.