Career thieving drug addict Kirsty Mankee jailed so shop keepers can have some respite

Kirsty Mankee from Illogan has been jailed for more than 25 thefts and assaults in the past 15 months
Kirsty Mankee from Illogan has been jailed for more than 25 thefts and assaults in the past 15 months -Credit:Devon and Cornwall Police

Shopkeepers across a huge swathe of Cornwall will have some respite from a "career thief" after she was banged up for a year. Kirsty Mankee, 28, formerly of Oxland Road, Illogan, now in the care of HMP Eastwood Park, has been jailed for more than two dozens shoplifting sprees in Truro, Falmouth, Redruth, Camborne and St Austell to fund her class A drug addiction over the past 15 months.

Victoria Bastock, prosecuting, said Mankee, who appeared before Truro Crown Court for sentencing today (Friday, May 17), had stolen anything from alcohol to a hot tub, chocolate to meat from supermarkets, sometimes on several occasions on the same days to fund her addictions. She told the court that Mankee even stole the purse from a woman who had tried to help her and went on a spending spree with her bank card.

On one occasion in September last year, Mankee went into a homeware store in Falmouth, filled her trolley with £800 worth of goods and simply walked out. A month later she removed the security tags from £167 worth of meat items from Aldi and put them in her bag.

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A similar modus operandi was used in December last year when she stole £127 worth of alcohol from the Tesco store in St Austell and again in January this year when she targeted another Tesco store this time in Redruth and stole £124 worth of booze. The court heard that Mankee returned to the same shop later that day having changed her clothes and again filled her bags with alcohol worth £167 and walked out.

In April this year, Mankee, who already has eight convictions for 16 offences, went into a Burger King fast food restaurant and became disruptive with customers. When she was asked to leave by a member of staff she became verbally aggressive towards her and ended up punching her in the face.

When she was arrested she spat in the police officer's face, something she has also done on other occasions when police were called by staff in the shops where CCTV helped to identify her as she stole various items. Ms Bastock said that in April, Mankee stole £135 of items from the newly open Mountain Warehouse store in Boscawen Street in Truro while on two other occasions last months she continued her stealing sprees and shoplifted alcohol and various other items from a range of stores such as Co-op, a convenience store in Camborne and B&M.

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Earlier this month Mankee went on another stealing trip, taking a £525 hot tub from B&Q which she bagged by leaving through the staff exit, followed by more alcohol and nappies and various bits and pieces from Poundland and Morrisons.

She was arrested and was remanded in custody until today following one last theft from a pet shop. In her police interview she said she didn't have any money and was only stealing to make ends meet.

In a victim impact statement read out in court, the woman who had her purse and bank cards stolen from her by Mankee, said: "I feel angry by what happened that she brazenly attempted to steal from me. This incident has made me paranoid and leaving anything in case. I'm worried about my personal belongings including my pets. I feel disappointed."

The Burger King staff member who was assaulted by Mankee also had her own victim impact statement read out in court. It read: "This has caused great anxiety. I'm worried about going back to work in case she (Mankee) attends the Burger King again."

Ryan Murray, defending, said that Mankee had suffered greatly in her life when her baby daughter drowned in the bath, but he also admitted that considering the number of offences Mankee faces, "she has run out of Tarmac". Read about how her mother was prosecuted and sentenced over the baby's death here.

He added: "Her destiny is sealed. You (Judge Linford) gave her a chance and she appreciates that. Her offences have to be seen as either she is extremely stupid and thrown this chance back into your face or she is someone who has an addiction and is troubled.

"Her addiction to drugs and alcohol has gone onto a rampant extent so she shoplifts for subsistence and to fund her class A drugs addiction. There is nothing sophisticated about it. It is to indulge her habit and to survive."

He added: "She has had a lot of suffering in her life. She lost a child. She had another child with her partner and was in a care placement with social services' help and things were progressively improving. When her partner was remanded in custody she went by the wayside and you can see the cliff edge she has fallen off."

Mr Murray said Mankee had now lost her partner, her home and is left with nothing. Judge Robert Linford said Mankee, whom he described as a "career thief", had suffered some tragedy in her life but there were so many times that excuse could be used in court.

Sentencing Mankee to one year in prison he said: "You get nasty when you are apprehended and have assaulted shop keepers and spat at police officers and stole the purse of someone who was trying to help you. It's time for the shop keepers to have some respite from your thieving behaviour."