A WOMAN stole false eyelashes and jewellery from a Chester shop because she is addicted to giving people gifts, a court heart.

Danielle Mead, 33, admitted taking the items worth £77 from Claire’s Accessories on Foregate Street on February 8 this year.

When confronted by security staff, she also admitted pinching household goods worth £45 from Poundworld earlier in the day.

At Chester Magistrates Court today she was fined £40 and must also pay £85 court costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Chris Hunt, defending, said her circumstances were very different from those usually associated with defendants convicted of theft.

“Ordinarily people steal because they’ve got addictions to drugs, drink or gambling, or they have debts,” Mr Hunt told the court. “Some people just enjoy it.

“But this young lady is a whole different situation because she has almost a compulsion to ingratiate herself with others. She has such low self esteem that the confidence she gets out of giving to others and getting their gratitude makes her feel better.”

Mead, of Shelley Road, Blacon, Chester, has 12 previous convictions for 24 offences, 14 of which were similar theft-related charges.

Mr Hunt said that she began her odd pattern of offending at around the age of 25 and had begun suffering with profound mental health issues as a result.

She now lives with her parents and has medical conditions that mean she has had to undergo surgery and has lost her hair.

Mr Hunt praised the police for referring her to mental health services after she was arrested, which has meant she is now receiving support.

Mead is undergoing counselling and was accompanied by a mental health support worker as she sat in the dock in court.

Mr Hunt added: “It’s clear that a real page has been turned in her life and she feels much more confident that she will be able to walk away from this horrible period of her life with the assistance of the support services she has been getting.”