One of Britain’s most prolific female thieves has been jailed – after committing her 249th offence, according to the UK Daily Express newspaper.
A court heard this week that Penelope Russell, now aged 48, first fell foul of the law 36 years ago.
Jailing her for 10 months Judge Paul Glenn told her: “You have been a persistent offender since the age of 12.
“You have been convicted of 249 offences. I’ve never seen a woman with more convictions recorded than that.
“The vast majority are offences of dishonesty.
“You targeted a female shopper by bumping into her and stealing her property while she was distracted.
“The handbag contained a phone, cash and documents, including a driving licence, debit cards, keys to the car and to the house.
“When people lose those sorts of items it causes significant distress and inconvenience. The risk of you re-offending is very high indeed.
“The only appropriate way of dealing with your case is an immediate custodial sentence.”
Prosecutor Julian Taylor said that for Russell’s latest offence she targeted a woman shopping at Marks & Spencer in Hanley, Staffordshire.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard the victim was at the fish counter when the defendant bumped into her.
Taylor said: “She thought nothing of it until a few moments later when she noticed that her £250 handbag was missing.
“It contained a £350 iPhone and a purse with £300 cash. The police looked at CCTV and saw the defendant in the vicinity.”