Woman helped burglar boyfriend escape with wheelie bin of stolen goods

A South Yorkshire woman who helped her boyfriend escape with a wheelie bin of stolen goods after he burgled a dog-grooming parlour has been told to tackle her drug problems.

By Tim Cunningham
Friday, 30th October 2020, 3:54 pm

Nicola Clarke's then partner, Malcolm Bennett, forced open a door at Crystal's Dog Grooming Salon, in Dunscroft, Doncaster, overnight on April 10, prosecutor James Gould told Sheffield Crown court, on Friday.

The pair made off with £3,000 of equipment from the parlour before the owner's daughter tracked them down.

Bennett, aged 36, formerly of Doncaster Road, Stainforth, Doncaster, pleaded guilty to shop theft, criminal damage, two thefts from cars, and burglary.

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CCTV showed Nicola Clarke helping Malcolm Bennett move stolen goods in a wheelie bin. (pic Charmaine Whitlam)

Judge Graham Reeds QC sentenced him to a total of two years, on September 9.

Rebecca Tanner, mitigating for Clarke, said there were elements of "coercion, intimidation and exploitation," but Judge Reeds replied: "I don't think those three adjectives apply."

He accepted that Clarke wasn't the "prime mover," but said: "She was there with him. She was influenced by him."

Clarke, 35, whose new address was not disclosed in court, pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods on October 2.

Judge Graham Reeds told her: "You had a problem with drugs at the time you committed this offence. I'm told you are taking steps to address this.

"You have no relevant previous convictions and although you knew full well what you were doing, you were influenced by your partner."

He imposed a 12-month community order, with 25 rehabilitation days, and warned her she could be jailed if she doesn't cooperate with the probation service.

Read the latest cases from Sheffield Crown Court here.

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