Mum and son caught shoplifting

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court
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An alcoholic mother and her son appeared at Burnley Magistrates’ Court on the same day for shoplifting.


Ex-drug addict Fiona Hodgson (58) had helped herself to a Calvin Klein perfume box set worth £50 from Boots in the town, on December 21st.

Son David Hodgson-Smith and an accomplice had stolen meat worth £108 from Marks and Spencer, the court was told.

Hodgson-Smith and Sarah Balmbra, both 32, had taken the meat from the Burnley store, last November 15th. The two offences were not connected and mother and son appeared before the Bench separately.

Hodgson claimed she had gone for a walk to get some fresh air after a row with one of her two sons and had had no intention of stealing. The magistrates heard she was so drunk when she was arrested, she couldn’t be questioned by police until the day after and had little recollection of what she did.

Her solicitor, Mr Mark WIlliams said she had been on a methadone prescription for “many a year,” and added: “As the drugs have gone down, the alcohol seems to have come up.”

Hodgson, of Melrose Avenue, Burnley, admitted stealing. The defendant, who is on benefits, was given a six month community order with an alcohol programme and must pay an £85 victim surcharge.

A separate hearing was told how Balmbra, a former drug addict who had now been clean for about two weeks, claimed she had no cash after coming out of jail and needed to provide for herself. She is on post- sentence supervision.

Jobless Hodgson- Smith was currently subject to a community order, but had not been to the induction appointment in Accrington to start it as he said he had no money to get there.

Balmbra, of Ivory Street, and her co -defendant, of Jockey Street, both Burnley, admitted theft.

Balmbra was given a four week curfew, between 7pm and 6am. Hodgson-Smith received a community order with 60 hours unpaid work.

Each must pay £54 compensation, £85 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.