A 30-YEAR-OLD mum-of-four appeared in court on the day she was due to see her youngest child for the final time.
Joanne Stokes, of Westbourne Road, Marsh, was arrested in Huddersfield town centre on Monday afternoon after she was spotted putting clothes into a bag at the BHS store.
When Stokes – who has had a heroin problem for more than 10 years – appeared before Huddersfield Magistrates yesterday, it emerged that her youngest child had been put up for adoption.
Stokes was due to see the one-year-old for the last time at 1pm yesterday.
She has three other children, aged 15, 13 and six who live with their father.
Stokes was granted bail, so could make the visit.
Mr Richard Ogden, prosecuting, said Stokes was with a man in BHS at 3.30pm on Monday and she was seen to put items into a distinctive Betty Boop bag.
When challenged by store staff she refused to open the bag and both she and the man fled.
But CCTV operators were alerted and the cameras traced the pair through the town centre until they were stopped in St Peter’s Gardens and arrested by police.
Mr Ogden said: “Both were very obstructive and she was reticent about giving police her true identity. The goods inside the bag still had the price tags on them.’’
The items, worth £64.60, included a striped jumper, jacket and boxer shorts.
After her arrest Stokes had tested positive for cocaine.
She was held in custody overnight and admitted the theft charge when she appeared before magistrates.
The man was not charged, because he told police he did not know Stokes had stolen the items.
Stokes’ solicitor, Karl Kingsley, said Stokes had a heroin addiction since her mother died 12 years ago.
He said most of her friends were also dependant on heroin and she had fled to Huddersfield from Calderdale to escape an abusive relationship.
The case was adjourned for a probation report on Stokes, who has a lengthy criminal record.
Chairman of the bench Mrs Caroline Ellis told her: “This is your lucky day. You deserve to go down. Your record is appalling. We will leave all options open, including custody.’’
But she said the main aim would be to turn Stokes away from drugs.
Stokes was given conditional bail to attend the Drug Intervention Programme. She is banned from Huddersfield town centre.
She will be sentenced on March 3.