Teacher admits shoplifting

A TEACHER has been given a year’s supervision and ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work after admitting stealing from fashion boutiques.

Imogen Parker, of Sudbury Road, Bures St Mary, stole goods worth more than �3,000 from Walkers, of Pottergate, Norwich, and Upstairs Downstairs in Woodbridge last January and in September 2008.

She pleaded guilty to a further four counts of possessing criminal property and one count of selling stolen property on the internet auction site eBay.

The court heard that she had acquired property from several boutique outlets including Angela Fashions, Long Melford, and Colleen and Clare, Southwold, but had told police she was unable to account for how she obtained them.

Parker, 43, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday morning after pleading guilty to all counts at an earlier hearing.

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The court heard that she had been suffering from stress at the time of the thefts and had been diagnosed with depression by her GP.

The judge was told that Parker’s husband had been unwell at the time the shoplifting happened while friends and other family members had suffered from illness.

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The court was told that “it all became rather too much” for her to cope with and she had taken solace in buying herself nice clothes, going to stores where there would be some “social interaction” but, once home, she would hide the clothes and burn the receipts in case her husband found out.

In sentencing, his honour Judge David Goodwin said a combination of circumstances at home and at work had left Parker in a state of mind she “had not previously been in” in her life.

He said: “You are an educated woman of some ability and some experience, and valuable experience in your profession as a teacher.”

He explained that Parker had been afforded trust from staff at the shops where she had been a well-known and valued customer.

Parker, who has taught at schools in Suffolk and Essex in the past, was ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work in the community and was told to comply with a supervision order for 12 months.

She was also told to return to court in June when a decision will be made whether any further action will be taken under the Proceeds of Crime act.

Anne Rowe, who runs Walkers of Pottergate with her husband Clive, said she had trusted Parker and spent two hours with her alone in the shop, but had no idea that during that time Parker was concealing four jumpers worth a total of nearly �900 in a bag.

She said: “We had a relationship with her that when she left the shop that morning she had forgotten something and she popped back in - even though she had my stuff in her bag she was still confident to come back and say something.

“It isn’t a victimless crime –we have to pay for the goods out of our own money.”


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