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Debt-laden mum took son on “professional shoplifting expedition” to B&M in Whitehaven

Carlisle Crown Court

A court has heard how a debt-laden mum was caught red-handed on a “professional shopping expedition” while out with her son and a child.

Ashley Winn, 42, and a partner-in-crime, 33-year-old Haley Bower, were seen on CCTV by a security guard as they pilfered products from the B&M Bargains outlet in Whitehaven on April 29 last year. Winn’s son and female child were with the pair.

The guard watched Winn and Bower stash items into bags, with Bower even pouring in the contents of a cereal box she had ripped open.

Police entered the shop and found discarded bags which contained stolen goods valued at about £70 and £60, respectively. “This was, plainly, a joint shoplifting enterprise,” prosecutor Tim Evans told Carlisle Crown Court.

Both woman later admitted theft. Although Bower, of Hillcrest, Northside, Workington, was not present at court this morning for their sentencing hearing, owing to an apparent administrative mix-up, Winn was there to receive her punishment.

Winn, of Centenary Close, Maryport, was in significant debt having been left with £3,500 of rent arrears, the court heard, and was responsible for a son aged in his early 20s who was severely autistic.

Winn was given a 12-month community order comprising a rehabilitation requirement for what the judge, Recorder Simon Killeen, said had been a “professional shoplifting expedition”.

Taking her son along had been a “disgraceful thing to do,” observed Recorder Killeen, who added: “You should be ashamed, in all the circumstances.”