Serial shoplifter who stole £159 bag ordered to pay back the money

Serial shoplifter, 33, who stole a £159 Kurt Geiger handbag at Heathrow Airport before boarding a flight is ordered to pay back the money

  • Gemma Rowell, 33, was ordered to pay £159 to the shop after pleading guilty 
  • Read more: Councillor who tried to steal £430,000 is jailed for two years 

A serial shoplifter has been ordered to pay for a £159 bag which she stole from Heathrow Airport.  

Gemma Rowell, 33, was captured on CCTV taking the designer item from the London airport’s Kurt Geiger shop before leaving to board a flight on September 20.

Rowell was easily identified and appeared at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court last week to plead guilty to one count of shop theft. 

She was ordered to pay Kurt Geiger £159 compensation.

Rowell has nine shoplifting offences on her record, most of which have been committed in the last year, and was fined £369 in July 2022 for stealing the equivalent of £1,200 from Fenwick in Newcastle.  

Gemma Rowell, 33, has previously been fined for her shoplifting after taking more than £1,200 worth of goods from a Newcastle department store 

The thief was easily identified after the airport shop noticed the theft of the bag and pleaded guilty at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court

Prosecutor Claire Armstrong said Rowell, of Wallsend, entered Kurt Geiger on September 20 last year. 

She added: ‘She looked at various handbags and selected a silver, cross body bag, valued at £159. She left the store without attempting to pay then got on a flight at the airport.’

Mark Harrison, defending, said Rowell had been getting a flight to visit her partner and was in a ‘pretty dark place’ at the time. Mr Harrison told the court: ‘It was a thoughtless offence and an unsophisticated one.’

In July last year, Rowell was fined £369 after she helped herself to £1,200-worth of perfume and clothes from Fenwick in Newcastle. 

On that occasion, she claimed it was a one-off as she was desperate for money but had found a job and would stay out of trouble in future.

However, a month later, she stole items from B&Q twice in just 48 hours, pocketing a lamp and laser leveller, worth a total of £205. 

Rowell gave the excuse that she was renovating her home and was given yet another fine. 

Shortly afterwards she committed her latest offences at Heathrow and just a few weeks after that, she was given a community order for further theft.

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