Woman claims she stole children’s clothes from Stratford John Lewis to give to needy youngsters

Newham's John Lewis is in Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre. Picture: Isabel Infantes.

Newham's John Lewis is in Westfield Stratford City Shopping Centre. Picture: Isabel Infantes. - Credit: Archant

A woman stole children’s clothes from Stratford John Lewis so she could give them to children in care, a court has heard.

Wanda Waghorn, 63, of Croydon, appeared in Thames Magistrates' Court on Thursday, October 10 charged with four counts of theft from the department store.

On July 30, July 31 and August 1, she picked up a basket, put her bag in it, and filled the basket with children's clothes. Going into the toilets for around five minutes, she came out with some of the items still in the basket and many of them in her bag, ready to walk out.

She wasn't caught on any of those days this summer, but was stopped by store detectives almost a fortnight later on August 13, trying to get away with almost £600 in children's fashion.

The £1,002 worth of goods she took on the three-day spree at the end of July were never recovered.

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Alex Britton, prosecuting, said Waghorn has a history of this kind of offence. Her last conviction was in September last year, when she was given an 18-month community order.

A probation officer told the court Waghorn was co-operative with the investigation and accepted that she was guilty. She added Waghorn says she donates the clothes to children in care in her native Poland at Easter and Christmas.

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The officer also said Waghorn is addicted to stealing: "She says she doesn't know why she does it. It just makes her happy to steal.

"She feels like stealing these things makes both her and the children happy."

According to the probation officer, Waghorn's community order is helping teach her why stealing like this is wrong.

Defending the woman, Sunvir Kaur said the offending began after her husband died around 10 years ago, leading her to develop depression. She has two adult children, 38 and 36, who were described as "distressed" by her actions.

Magistrate Mr Dalvi gave Waghorn a 24-week prison sentence, which he suspended for 12 months, and ordered her to pay £85 to cover the prosecution's costs and give John Lewis its £1,002.

She was also banned from entering any John Lewis for a year.

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