A WOMAN caught stealing from Marks and Spencer was told she had escaped a jail sentence because she had been co-operating with the probation service.

Blackburn magistrates heard Samantha Angela Clarke stole two jumpers, a scarf and a pair of gloves from the store but was detained as she left.

Clarke, 45, of Exeter Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to shoplifting. She was made subject to a community order for 12 months with 12 rehabilitation activity requirement days and ordered to pay £85 costs and £90 victim surcharge.

Sentencing her District Judge Margaret McCormack said the defendant's record showed that shoplifting was what she did.

"I2m not going to send you back to prison because it seems you are working with the probation service and making efforts to change," she said.

Mark Williams, defending, said his client's historic drug problem had been overtaken by alcohol.

"She is going to rehab and tells me she is thoroughly enjoying it," said Mr Williams.

"She is no fool and knows that if she continues the time will come when she is going back to prison."