A PROLIFIC thief who stole £300 of items from a shop was later caught by police after a road accident.

Ulverrston woman Denise Brill-Edwards admitted that she stole underwear, household items and jewellery from TK Maxx in Barrow.

The 45-year-old went into store in a wheelchair and placed items in a bag, South Cumbria Magistrates' Court heard.

Prosecutor Lee Dacre said police only caught up to several hours later when they attended a collision in nearby Gleaston.

He told the court: "At 12.52pm the defendant entered TK Maxx in a wheelchair. She went to the cosmetics area with a black bin bag in her lap.

"She left the store at 1.20pm without paying for any of the items.

"At 4.20pm police were called to a road traffic collision.

"She was stood at the roadside surrounded by the items.

"CCTV showed she had put the items in her bag.

"In a police interview she initially said the items were all gifts."

The court heard she had 104 previous offences on her record, including 49 for theft.

Representing her, Michael Graham said she had previously struggled with a drug problem but had seen a 'sea change' in her life since.

"It's an unsophisticated offence," he said.

"She had no recollection of the event,"

"At the time she was misusing substances, going from day to day and living hand to mouth.

"Things were chaotic.

"There's been a sea change that's taken place.

"She is no longer using street drugs or prescribed substitutes."

Mr Graham said she was looking noticeably healthier than on previous occasions when he had represented her.

Magistrates, led by chair of the bench Robert Maddock, sentenced Brill-Edwards, of Little Union Street, to a fine of £120 for the offence.

He told her: "There was some planning.

"You went in there with a bag."

Brill-Edwards was jailed for 10 days last April after she failed to meet the requirements of a curfew imposed for stealing a number of items from shops.

She had been ordered to complete a 10-week curfew after she stole £100 worth cosmetics and gift sets from Boots in Ulverston as well as other products from stores in Kendal.