A THIEF who was traced by police following a public appeal for information on her whereabouts has walked free from court.

Cheshire Police issued a plea for help in order to track Rachael Bates, from Runcorn, at the weekend.

And the 35-year-old was brought before Warrington Magistrates Court on Monday, May 13, having been traced by officers.

Bates, of Stone Barn Lane in Palacefields, admitted theft – having stolen £11.23 worth of groceries from Home Bargains on Trident Retail Park on Monday, April 15.

She also pleaded guilty to breaching a community order, having failed to attend a planned appointment in January and a drug test last month.

Magistrates handed Bates a 12-month conditional discharge and told her to pay £11.23 in compensation to Home Bargains – as well as £85 court costs and a victim surcharge of £20.