A NEWPORT woman was jailed after shoplifting handbags worth £1,476 from River Island.

Mother of two Tammizon Sandell, 28, of Portskewitt Street, travelled to Talbot Green in Rhondda Cynon Taff on December 14 last year intending to steal the handbags with a friend.

Ben Waters, defending, said: “They were thrown back when they were chased by security officers. She [Sandell] went back to the store because her handbag was missing.”

Sandell has 41 previous convictions for theft, including one on October 16 last year for which she was given a conditional discharge.

Mr Waters continued: “This is a defendant who appears before the court who is in desperate circumstances due to a problem with heroin.

"It’s something she fully accepts. It has plagued her life for a considerable period of time. Her life has simply spiralled out of control.”

Sandell appeared at Newport Magistrates’ Court, where she admitted breaching the terms of a community order made on September 20.

Tearful as she addressed the judge, Sandell said: “I know I have had a lot of chances. I came out of prison last year and I lost everything. I think the shock of that made me not care about anything.

"I’m desperate for help. I know you hear things like this every day but I really want the help. Prison is not going to solve anything; I need this drug rehabilitation requirement so I can change my life.”

But District Judge David Parsons told her that her “long record” of previous convictions counted against her: “You have 66 previous convictions. Out of those 66, 41 are for offences of theft. Most of those offences are for shoplifting.”

He said “year after year and year” the court had placed a greater emphasis on trying to bring about positive change through involving the probation service, including imposing a drug rehabilitation order.

But he said: “You go stealing, not stealing a jar of coffee or some razor blades, as very often are taken, but stealing £1,400 worth of clothing from River Island. That really is fatal to your case.”

He sentenced Sandell to 26 weeks in prison, made up of 16 weeks for the theft and five weeks respectively for breaching the terms of a conditional discharge and supervision requirement, to run consecutively.