Lewisham woman demanded biscuits and kicked Met Police officer after shoplifting from M&S and Boots

Leah Layton, 45, leaving Wimbledon Magistrates' Court on May 21 after being handed a community order
Leah Layton, 45, leaving Wimbledon Magistrates' Court on May 21 after being handed a community order -Credit:Charlotte Lillywhite

A South London woman demanded biscuits and kicked a Met Police officer after she was caught shoplifting items worth £420 from M&S and Boots. Leah Layton, 45, of Thomas Lane, Lewisham, was handed a community order at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court on Tuesday (May 21) after pleading guilty to three offences at an earlier hearing.

Ms Layton shoplifted £119 worth of cosmetic items from a Boots branch in Richmond, before stealing £301.48 worth of food and drink from an M&S store in Kew and assaulting PC Kovacs in Wandsworth on March 30, 2023. She admitted the three offences at Wimbledon Magistrates' Court on April 25 this year.

At the sentencing hearing on May 21, prosecutor Suleman Hussain told the court Boots staff said they saw Ms Layton 'grabbing a number of items' in the cosmetic area of the shop before leaving and 'making no attempt' to pay at the till on March 30, 2023. He said Ms Layton was then seen shortly afterwards in an M&S foodhall in Kew 'placing multiple items' in her basket, before she 'picked up a bottle of wine and started drinking from it'.

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Wimbledon Magistrates' Court, Wimbledon
Ms Layton had admitted the three offences at an earlier hearing -Credit:Charlotte Lillywhite

Mr Hussain said staff detained Ms Layton, who tried to push them away. He said staff started to complete paperwork to ban her from the store, but she 'became angry' and began 'shouting at staff'. He added she 'started to punch and kick the wall' and used 'abusive language to staff', who called the police.

The prosecutor told the court Ms Layton later refused to remove her clothes during an attempted strip search at a police station in Wandsworth and was placed in handcuffs. He said officers grabbed her by the arms due to her 'aggression and [attempts] to leave the room' and she then 'demanded tea and biscuits'.

Mr Hussain said PC Kovacs testified that she told Ms Layton the station was 'not a hotel where she can just demand things', but she replied that it was 'a hotel for people like her and proceeded to kick the officer in her right thigh with her right foot'. He added PC Kovacs was left with no visible marks on her right thigh. When Ms Layton was interviewed by police officers, he added, she said she had taken the items for charity, she was 'sorry for what happened... and [that she] will do better'.

Judge Wendy Preston handed Ms Layton a 15-month community order for the offences. The order requires Ms Layton to complete 25 rehabilitative activity requirement days and six months of drug rehabilitation. The judge did not award costs in the case but she ordered Ms Layton to pay a government surcharge of £114, which is set to be deducted from her benefits.

Got a story? Email charlotte.lillywhite@reachplc.com.

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