A MOTHER-OF-FIVE caught shoplifting started taking class A drugs again after the tragic death of her daughter.

Serial thief Kelly Howells, 40, who has 37 previous convictions for 110 offences, was arrested for stealing cosmetic creams from Lloyds pharmacy on Mendalgief Road in Newport.

Prosecutor Rob Simkins told the city’s magistrates’ court: “The defendant was caught on CCTV which was seen by a police officer who knew this lady and was able to identify her from the footage.

“The items, which were worth £16, were not recovered.”

Howells, of Mendalgief Road, Newport pleaded guilty to theft on June 26.

Darren Bishop representing her told the court: “The defendant has suffered personal trauma and grief.”

Her lawyer said Howells had been a class A drugs addict and had "relapsed" and started taking heroin and crack cocaine following the recent death of her daughter.

“There are still difficulties with crack cocaine use,” Mr Bishop added and said her latest offence had been “unsophisticated”.

She had stolen one of the creams because she has an ulcerated leg, the court heard.

The defendant was subject to a community order at the time of the theft last month.

Howells had been “under the influence” while attending some appointments, a probation officer said.

The defendant was handed a nine-month conditional discharge and must pay £127 in costs, a surcharge and compensation.

She was allowed to continue with her community order.