Woman, 76, caught shoplifting

AN elderly woman was taken into police custody after she was caught leaving a supermarket with moisturising cream and rice that she had forgotten to pay for.

A loss prevention officer noticed the 76-year-old when she entered the Coles supermarket at Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore on November 30, carrying green environmentally friendly shopping bags.

The officer watched the pensioner walk to the health and beauty section of the supermarket and put a jar of Nivea cream in one of her bags.

She then walked to the frozen food aisle and selected a carton of fried rice which she also put in her bag.

The woman then took a loaf of bread and a banana to the cash register and paid for the two items.

The officer stopped her outside.

Police escorted the woman from the supermarket to a beat office where she was interviewed about the theft.

She admitted she had not paid for the items and was charged.

She wept and wiped tears from her face in Maroochydore Magistrates Court yesterday as she pleaded guilty to one count of shoplifting.

Duty lawyer David Crews told Acting Magistrate Graham Hillan the defendant was going deaf and could not hear the magistrate's instructions.

Mr Crews was required to write notes to tell the 76-year-old what was being said in the courtroom.

He said she was "going a bit senile" and had started to forget more and more.

On the day she took the items from Coles, Mr Crews said the woman had forgotten that she had them in her bags.

"She also suffers from anxiety and I have a (doctor's) certificate ... which excuses her from jury duty," Mr Crews said.

"She is going a bit senile (and) puts (the theft) down to old age.

"She is extremely distressed today."

The court was told the woman had no criminal history and compensation was not sought for the stolen items.

Mr Hillan said he would impose a lesser penalty than normal because of the woman's history and personal details.

He fined her $200 and ordered no conviction be recorded.

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