Shoplifter grabbed Lidl employee by the throat after being caught stealing at South Shields store

A shoplifter grabbed a Lidl employee by the throat when she tried to stop her leaving the South Shields supermarket.

By Michael Drummond
Wednesday, 24 July, 2019, 06:00
She was caught shoplifting in Lidl in South Shields. Picture: Google Streetview

Gemma Campbell was caught stealing meat from the Boldon Lane store on April 16 but cannot remember what happened because she had taken Xanax, a court heard.

Campbell, 35, of Downham Court, admitted theft and assault when she appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Prosecutor Rachael Glover said: “The defendant attended Lidl [and] has gone over to the meat aisle.

“She has concealed items and then proceeded to leave the store without paying for them.”

She was confronted by store workers as she tried to leave, among them an employee called Elena.

Campbell grabbed her by the throat, the court heard, but no injury was caused.

In a victim statement Elena said: “I do not expect to come to work and be assaulted by shoplifters.”

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Defence solicitor Joanne Gatens said the incident happened during a period of time where Campbell had been unable to get her Methadone script and had been using Xanax to compensate.

“She doesn’t recall the incident in any great detail.”

Sentencing Campbell, chairman of the bench Stephen Bradley said: “It is sad that you can’t recall this but Ms Gatens tells us that was because of the issue with your methadone script.

“That is a nasty thing to do when people are at work.”

Campbell was fined £60 and must pay costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £30.

She must also pay £50 in compensation to Elena for the assault.