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Laughing shoplifter who stole hours after judge's prison warning avoids jail due to pregnancy amid coronavirus outbreak

By Nick Humphreys | Dawley | Crime | Published:

A laughing Telford shoplifter who went out thieving hours after a judge warned her she could be jailed has avoided prison for now - because she's pregnant amid the Covid-19 outbreak.

Molly Victoria Jones, 23, took £350 worth of alcohol and meat from a Co-op store and £285 worth of fragrance sets from a branch of Superdrug on December 4 last year.

Earlier that day she appeared at Shrewsbury Crown Court for breaches of a suspended jail sentence in relation to violent disorder, and Judge Anthony Lowe told her: "If you mess this up, pregnant or not you are going to spend time in custody."

He deferred her sentence to this month, and was also due to sentence her for a total of 10 thefts. Between May and December last year she targeted expensive items including alcohol, meat, cheese and perfume sets from stores including the aforementioned as well as Waitrose, Morrison's and Boots. The exact value was not confirmed, but it was accepted she took well over £1,000 worth of items.

Despite his strong words at her last appearance, Judge Lowe decided she would be too much of a burden on an already stretched prison service, given she had been self-isolating because of Covid-19 symptoms leading up to her court appearance.

He said: "If I was just sentencing Molly Jones alone I would have no problem in sending her away. The words I said must have been ringing in her ears when I told her to take advantage of the opportunity. She did by going straight off stealing.

"I'm now dealing with Molly Jones who is going to give birth in four months at a time when the prison service is going to be pushed to breaking point."

He deferred her sentence until September 20, and indicated that if she stayed out of trouble he would likely give her a suspended jail term.

Jones, of King Street, Dawley, couldn't contain her laughter as Judge Lowe addressed her directly. He said: "I don't know if you can help yourself. You're quite happy to help yourself to other people's things. You don't seem to care. I don't know if you care about this baby or not.

"If you commit any offences from today onwards, baby or no baby, you're going away. Virus or no virus.

"I'm not going to burden the prison service. You are a problem they could do without."

Nick Humphreys

By Nick Humphreys
Senior Reporter

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star focusing on Shrewsbury.

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