A DRUNK mother took her five-year-old-son with her when she stole charity collection boxes from two shops.
Paula Barker, 31, was caught on CCTV stealing a British Heart Foundation charity box from The Eden Mobility store on Westgate, Wakefield, on May 15, magistrates in Wakefield were told.
Around 15 minutes later, Barker was caught on camera stealing an Action for Blind People charity box from opticians Dollond and Aitchison.
Prosecutor Amanda Harris said Dollond and Aitchison staff confronted Barker outside the store and asked to look in her white handbag.
Mrs Harris said: “Her young child asked ‘Do you have to give it back?’ to which the defendant replied, ‘Yes, because I don’t want to get arrested again’.”
The court heard Barker, of Beckley Road, Darnely, Wakefield, has had problems with both alcohol and drugs.
Mrs Harris said Barker went in to the Eden Mobility store, claiming she was intending to buy a scooter for her grandfather.
Mrs Harris added: “The defendant was in company with her five-year-old son.
“She spoke to a member of staff and asked for an item in the back of the shop. The member of staff could see the defendant was very drunk.
“She took the charity box, which was a collection for the heart foundation. She took the charity box and the matter was later discovered when CCTV was checked.
“Fifteen minutes later, she went to Dollond and Aitchison with her young son.
“A member of staff saw the defendant with the Action for Blind charity box and place it in to her white handbag.
“He follwed the defendant out of the shop and asked to look in her bag.”
Barker admitted two charges of theft in connection with the charity boxes.
She admitted a further two theft charges after stealing cans of lager from Sainsbury’s in Wakefield on July 15 and August 10.
She also admitted stealing items worth £75 from Lloyds Pharmacy in Wakefield on July 12.
Mitigating Rob Fones said: “She has had a problem with drugs. Alcohol has been an issue as well.
“She has something of a chaotic lifestyle.”
Bench chair Sally Clamp sentenced Barker to a 12-month community order with a 12-month drug treatment programme.