Thief caught on camera stealing raffle prizes from retirement complex

A thief’s numbers were up when she was caught on camera stealing raffle prizes in the dead of night from a retirement complex.

Kelly Steel, 42, swiped £150 of wine, chocolate and candles from Beaumont Lodge, in Toward Street, Hendon, Sunderland, after being let in at 2am to use the toilet. Steel, now of Northcote Street, Chichester, South Shields, carefully bagged her stolen booty on Sunday, August 28, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.

Prosecutor Glenda Beck said the crook stayed another four hours with a resident friend who had allowed her in – and then left with her spoils. Magistrates ordered Steel, who pleaded guilty to a charge of theft, to pay full compensation to Beaumont Lodge bosses.

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Mrs Beck said: “It is sheltered accommodation for independent living for 42 residents. The residents had arranged their own raffle draw and various prizes were on a table at around 2am.

Beaumont Lodge. Hendon, Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID.

“It was later noticed that some items were missing. CCTV showed the defendant being given access by a resident. She was seen taking items and bagging them up. She left the property at 6am.

“The police were given access to the CCTV and the defendant was arrested on November 11. In interview she admitted that she had taken the items and said she had been homeless and been let in to use the toilet. She said that she had taken diazepam and that she was not proud of what she had done.”

Gerry Armstrong, defending, said: “She was living rough. There are drugs but she has been making efforts to change.”

Alongside the compensation order for the theft, magistrates handed Steel an absolute discharge.

Beaumont Lodge. Hendon, Sunderland. Picture by FRANK REID.