A WOMAN has walked free from court despite stealing items from Marks and Spencer worth hundreds of pounds.

Angela Higham targeted M&S stores in Warrington and Widnes as part of her shoplifting spree.

The 54-year-old was caught however and charged with two counts of theft from a shop.

She appeared before Chester Magistrates’ Court on Friday to be sentenced after admitting the offences, but she was spared an immediate jail sentence.

Georgia Leyland, prosecuting, explained how on February 15 this year, Higham visited the Marks and Spencer store at Widnes Shopping Park.

Once inside, she helped herself to eight pairs of pyjamas to the value of £236 without paying.

The defendant later visited the M&S store at Gemini in Warrington on July 5, stealing clothing and candles worth £485.

Before sentencing, district judge Nicholas Sanders said that the offences were ‘so serious’ that only a custodial sentence could be justified.

This is due to the Higham’s previous convictions and the high value of the items stolen.

However, taking her guilty pleas into account, he determined that the defendant had a ‘realistic prospect of rehabilitation’.

Higham, of Buchanan Road in Liverpool, was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison suspended for 12 months.

She was also ordered to pay £236 in compensation.