Woman who stole cider and an ice pop from a Hebburn store racially abused the shopkeeper when confronted

A woman drinking four litres of wine a day racially abused a South Tyneside shopkeeper after being caught pinching cider and an ice pop.

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Ellie Fox, 20, left the Premier food store in Victoria Road East, Hebburn, without paying for the booze four-pack and 10p frozen snack.

Fox, of Greenbank, Jarrow, verbally abused the shop’s boss when he confronted her outside on Tuesday, May 9, a court heard.

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She shouted at the man, who is Indian but has lived in the UK for 19 years, “People from your country are disabled, getting benefits”.

When asked to stop being abusive, she replied, “I can because I’m British”, prosecutor Glenda Beck told borough magistrates.

South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.
South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court.

Mrs Beck said Fox had set alarm bells ringing by stealing four of the same cans of Strongbow cider from the outlet two days earlier.

She added: “The complainant is the owner of the Premier store. He says that at 8pm on May 7, he was working and serving customers.

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“He saw a female enter and go to the fridges. She then left but a customer told him that she had taken four cans of Strongbow.

“He didn’t inform the police because he thought he would give the female the opportunity to pay next time.

“On May 9 at 5.30pm he was in the flat above the store and was watching CCTV when he saw the same female.

“He watched her take four cans of Strongbow and a 10p ice pop. She left the store and he tried to catch her.

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“She saw him but ran away and opened a can of cider and began drinking it. She asked him to let her go.”

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Mrs Beck said it was then Fox, who has a conviction from last year for shop theft, fired off her racial tirade.

Fox pleaded guilty to two counts of theft from a shop, and one each of causing racially aggravated harassment, alarm or distress and failing to surrender to custody.

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David Forrester, defending, said: “She seems to be a young lady who has some problems.

“She tells me that she does drink up to four litres of wine a day. She’s clearly been struggling for the appropriate support in the community.

“She embarrassed about the way she behaved. It’s perhaps an indication of her situation that she drank a can before she even left the street.”

Fox, who owes the courts almost £3,500 from mainly non-payment of Metro rail fares, was sentenced to a 12-month community order, with 25 rehabilitation days.

She must pay the shopkeeper £100 compensation for racial abuse and a further £12.88 for the stolen goods, and stay away from the shop for a year.

There were no court costs or victim surcharge.