Couple steal food from Iceland to feed baby after waiting weeks for benefits

A "desperate" couple say they were forced to steal food from a supermarket to feed their baby after waiting weeks for benefits payments.

Shane Norman and Stacey Lawson were arrested after they used their child’s push chair to steal £21 worth of food during a visit to Iceland in Lincolnshire on October 5 last year.

Norman and Stacey appeared at Lincoln Magistrates Court on February 14 where they admitted one charge of theft, Lincolnshire reported .

The couple said they could not keep going to a food bank and committed the crime in an "act of desperation", a court head.

Prosecutor Emma Wright said: "On October 5 last year, both Mr Norman and Miss Lawson entered Iceland in Lincoln and concealed a number of items and left the store.

"In interview, they admitted the offence and that it was unlawful. They said they were going to eat the items and wash clothes."

In mitigation, Mark McNeil said: "The couple were caught in a benefits gap as it was changing over to universal credit.

"They were left for weeks without any income. This was an act of desperation.

"Had the benefits been paid on time as they should be, they would have not found themselves in this situation.

"They could not keep going to the food bank to get their meals."

Lawson was given a conditional discharge of nine months and has been ordered to pay £30 compensation and a £20 victim surcharge.

Universal Credit rolls six benefits into one payment – but claimants have to wait five weeks for the new benefit to be administered.

Waits of ten or twelve weeks are not uncommon, according to the Institute for Government,

The Institute states on its website: "The overall effect has been to plunge people already on low incomes into rent arrears and debt and in some cases homelessness."

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