Pensioners guilty of £650 shoplifting spree

GUILTY: Elfryn and Margaret Thomas stole £477.50 from Trostre's Marks and Spencer branch during their £663.65 stealing spree.

GUILTY: Elfryn and Margaret Thomas stole £477.50 from Trostre's Marks and Spencer branch during their £663.65 stealing spree.

First published in News

A pair of pension-age shoplifters walked out of stores at an out of town shopping with more than £660- worth of goods following an afternoon’s stealing spree, a court has heard.

Elfryn Davies Thomas, aged 70, and 68-year-old wife Elizabeth Ray, both of 6 Grove Hill Park in Gorslas, targeted Asda, BHS, Marks and Spencer and B&Q at Llanelli’s Trostre Retail Park on June 6.

Llanelli magistrates were told that the pair were caught with £663.65 worth of items in the boot of their car when confronted by police.

Ellie Morgan, prosecuting, described how the couple were spotted taking drill bits and a Stanley knife from the power tools section of B&Q at 3.30pm.

Mr Thomas, a retired miner, was seen by staff using the knife to cut security tags from the drill bits and then placing the items in his wife’s handbag.

“They paid for some items in their trolley and then left the store without paying for the items in the handbag,” Ms Morgan told the court.

Police were called and the couple were intercepted at their.

“The car was searched and a number of shopping bags were recovered,” Ms Morgan said.

The bags contained £50.75 worth of items from Asda; £79 worth of goods from BHS; £477.50 worth of items from Marks and Spencer and £56.40 worth of items from B&Q.

“There were no receipts for any of the items,” the court was told.

Checks at each of the stores showed that all of the items had been stolen.

In interview, Thomas told police they had taken the items for their grandchildren.

Mr Thomas told police how the couple had “gone to Trostre for a run”.

“We had been in Marks and done some stupid things,” she told police.

“We put them in carrier bags and walked out without paying.”

Both told police that they had carried out the thefts together.

Magistrates were told that the couple were both cautioned by police for shoplifting following an incident in December.

“They were working together then too,” Ms Morgan said.

Richard Morgan, defending, told the court how the pair had admitted their guilt to police immediately following their arrest.

“It is almost inexplicable that a couple of good character put themselves in this position,” she Mr Morgan.

“They are extremely ashamed of their actions.

“They are a happy mature couple with two adult children and grandchildren.”

Mr Morgan said the pair had come under increasing pressure over recent months following Mr Thomas’ brother being diagnosed with cancer and a serious injury to one of their grandchildren.

“Both have been to their GP and she has a long-term history of depression,” he added.

“On June 6 they went for a trip to Trostre Park to look for some clothing for their grandchildren.

“Nothing was planned but because she is diabetic and needed food they decided to steal something.

“This has been an uncomfortable experience for them and a salutary lesson for both.

“They won’t be putting themselves in this position again.”

The pair both pleaded guilty to four charges of theft.

Magistrates fined them each £60 for each offence and a further £85 court costs and a £20 legal surcharge.

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