A LAWYER representing a Lithuanian woman who stole packets of steak from Aldi told a court that Brexit was indirectly responsible for her crimes.
Blackburn Magistrates Court heard Olga Jankovskaja had repeatedly stolen from shops to fund her drugs habit. But defending his client, barrister Mark Williams said the mother-of-one was unable to claim benefits until she had secured UK citizenship ‘post Brexit’.
He told a district judge that although his client had worked for most of her time in the UK, she was now struggling to access state help and this meant she was forced to steal. Defending, Mr Williams said: “Post Brexit she is having to apply for residency and until that is sorted out she can’t claim benefits.
“That has led to significant financial difficulties and when you add that to the drugs it has led to these offences.”Mr Williams said his client was on a methadone prescription but it was not enough to deal with her addiction and she was taking heroin on a daily basis.
He said his client and her partner had been working for “the majority of the time” they had been in this country. Jankovskaja, 34, of Smith Street, Nelson, pleaded guilty to three charges of stealing spirits from Tesco and one of stealing packets of steak from Aldi. She was jailed for four weeks.
Parveen Akhtar, prosecuting, said the value of the goods stolen from Tesco was £404 and from Aldi £110.
Jankovskaja was in breach of a suspended prison sentence and subject to a community order. District Judge John Maxwell told her she had left him with no alternative but to send her to prison. He said: “You are not in a position to accept the help the probation service has been offering you.
“You need to sort your life out. You will not see your grandchildren if you don’t, you are killing yourself. “I can only urge you, if not for yourself then for your child, to take advantage of the help that is available.”