25/06/2024 5:45 AM

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Woman stole alcohol from Tesco twice claiming she had Covid and shouted ‘rape’ when stopped by security guard

A woman stole alcohol from Tesco twice, claiming she had covid, then threatening staff with a knife and a gun stating she “wasn’t afraid to use it”.

Bethanie Summerscales, 22, first went into the store located on Chester Road in Stretford, on May 20 this year.

She came to the attention of security staff when she was seen placing bottles of booze into shopping bags in her trolley, Minshull Street Crown Court sitting at Stockport Magistrates’ court was told.

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As she went to leave through the self scanners without paying, she was challenged.

“She responded by pulling down her face mask and shouted that she had Covid,” prosecutor Suzanne Hargreaves told the court.

“She stated she had a gun and wasn’t afraid to use it.

“She then pulled a knife from her handbag and asserted again that she wasn’t afraid to use it.

“She left the store with the items valued at between £500 and £600.”

The security guard said in a statement that he has two young children, and when Summerscales, of Stretford, produced the knife, it caused him sleepless nights and he believed she would use it.

Days later on May 24, she came back to the same Tesco Extra and the same guard was on duty when he spotted her picking up three bottles of vodka.

He challenged her, and again she said she had Covid, a knife and a gun, the prosecutor said.

“Another security guard on the way out stopped her by grabbing hold of her arm to prevent her from leaving,” Ms Hargreaves said.

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“She managed to get out of his grasp and racially abused him, then called out to passersby saying that he was trying to rape her.

“She then punched him to the head and face several times.

“Bottles of alcohol were retrieved from her, the total cost of which wsa £76.50.”

The guard was left with a minor injury to his lip.

In a statement said: “The racist words that came out of her mouth shocked me and the fact she was telling people I was raping her made me feel nervous about other people hearing as that was obviously not what was happened.”

The other staff member added: “No person should be put in fear and no staff member should be abused whilst they are trying to do their job.”

Summerscales was said to have eight previous convictions for 16 offences including battery and theft matters.

Following a discussion with her defence counsel Simon Blakebrough, the sentencing judge Recorder Nicholas Clarke QC indicated that he had read a number of reports that stated a supported accommodation was already set up for Summerscales upon her release.

He said that sentencing her to a determinate sentence would mean she would be released at the halfway point and made the subject of licence conditions and a post sentence supervision.

Summerscales has been in custody since the offences in May, so that would entitle her to be released today.

“If she breaches her licence she will be back to prison” Recorder Clarke said.

“The defendant accepts a custodial sentence is inevitable – though she has already served almost five months in prison,” Mr Blakebrough said.

Sentencing her, the judge said: “First I want to make clear that those providing a public service are entitled to the protection of this court.

“I have read a psychological report which suggests you have complex mental health problems and emotional distress following a childhood trauma.

“The Court of Protection here in Manchester have created an order to help you.

“You have a low mental capacity to make informed decisions in relation to your own welfare and you do not have the same criminal culpability as one who appears before these courts with full mental capacity.”

Summerscales, of Chester Road, was handed nine months imprisonment, but due to the fact she had served over half of the sentence in custody, she was to be released immediately and made subject to licence conditions.

As she left the hearing which was held over video link, she said: “Thank you for giving me a chance – I don’t want to get into trouble again so thank you.”

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