A SERIAL thief has been granted one final chance to clean up her act after staying off drugs for almost a year and beginning volunteer work.
Victoria Evans, 33, pleaded guilty to a rash of thefts across Worcestershire - including in Kidderminster - at the end of 2012 but her sentencing was delayed to give her chance to rehabilitate herself.
At Worcester Crown Court yesterday she was given a four-month prison sentence suspended for 12 months after Judge Michael Cullum congratulated her on her progress since.
"You have attended and lived at a rehabilitation premises - not due to a court order but under your own steam," he said.
"That is important not only for you but for the public at large because I have no doubt if you remain drug-free you will stay out of trouble.
"Free of negative influences and free of Class A drugs, you clearly - as has been shown by the voluntary work you have been doing - are capable of leading an industrious life."
The court heard she had 41 previous convictions - 33 of which were shoplifting offences - and Judge Cullum said while that would normally make a custodial sentence likely, he was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt based on her progress over the past few months.
She will also be subject to a supervision order.
Evans, of Hipkiss Gardens, Droitwich, was first arrested on December 11, 2012, after being caught carrying two small televisions out of the Tesco store in Castle Road, Kidderminster with a male accomplice, who stole a larger TV.
Just six days later, and while on bail for that offence, she broke into three unlocked cars in Tagwell Road, Penrice Road and Priory Gardens, Droitwich, stealing sat navs, a set of speakers and a bag.
She was caught the following day when a resident in Tagwell Road called police after spotting two women trying car doors.
She was arrested and in her bag officers found sat navs - three of which were the ones which had been stolen the previous night - as well as stolen cheque books and bank cards.
They also found one of the cheques made out to Evans in the sum of £200 and a piece of paper with all the relevant details from the cards written down.
It was later discovered they had been taken in a burglary from a house in Oakland Avenue on December 16, along with a laptop, a tablet and other electrical items.
Evans pleaded guilty to one charge of shoplifting, three of theft from a motor vehicle and one of handling stolen goods.
Defending, Richard Hull said drug addiction was at the root of her offending. "If she makes good on the progress that she has made so far, and remains drug-free, it appears abundantly clear that she will not reoffend," he said.
"She asserts that she has no intention of looking back towards that old lifestyle."