A SHOPLIFTER who travelled to York got a suspended prison sentence despite leaving the city empty-handed.

Leah Elam, 24, who has four years of shop theft convictions was also banned from North Yorkshire for 18 months.

“York has enough shop thieves of its own, it doesn’t need people coming from elsewhere to join in,” district judge Adrian Lower told her at York Magistrates Court.

Police found three foil-lined bags of the kind used to deceive anti-theft detectors in shops, an axe and a 17-year-old girl in Elam’s car, when they stopped on the A1(M) near Wetherby on September 13, 2020.

Officers were on the look-out for the pair after they were seen behaving suspiciously at River Island in York, he said.

Elam, of North Hill Road, Dewsbury and the teenager from Bradford both pleaded guilty to going equipped to steal. The teenager admitted possessing the axe as an offensive weapon.

Elam was given a 22-week prison sentence suspended for 18 months on condition she does 25 days’ rehabilitation activities.

She was banned from contacting the girl for 18 months as well as the 18-month North Yorkshire ban and was ordered to pay a £122 statutory surcharge and £85 prosecution costs.

The girl’s case was remitted for sentence to Bradford Youth Court where she faces unrelated charges of theft and causing actual bodily harm to a security guard..

For Elam, Shazad Dad said she stole because she was desperate.

She had lost her benefits for a time because she had had to move to avoid violence at her former home.