Notorious Burnley shoplifter threatened to 'stab' shop worker

Burnley Magistrates' Court
Burnley Magistrates' Court
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A "high profile" shoplifter who struck four more times threatened to stab a shop worker if they came any closer, a court heard.

Ex-opiates addict Sarah-Louise Balmbra stole jumpers worth £282 and clothing to the value of £88.50 from Marks and Spencer and coffee and washing powder, each worth £30, from Farmfoods.

The defendant, who was on licence at the time, told police she sold the hauls to pay for personal items and denied telling the assistant she would stab her.

The 33-year-old, who has 68 offences on her record, is said to misuse painkillers and anti-psychotic medication and her solicitor told Burnley magistrates she had lived a miserable life.

Mr Dylan Bradshaw said in 2005, the defendant had been the victim of a vicious attack and that had affected her entire life from that point.

The solicitor continued: "She presents to the court as a woman who is trying her best. She is almost addicted to shoplifting. "

Mr Bradshaw said Balmbra had been in an abusive relationship for many years and suffered from extreme anxiety which she masked with aggressive behaviour.

He added: "She is a high -profile shoplifter. "

The defendant, of Lubbuck Street, Burnley, admitted four counts of theft, on September 1st, October 23rd and November 14th and 16th.

She was given 12 weeks in jail, suspended for a year, with a 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement. Balmbra was ordered to pay £420.50 compensation.