DESPERATION to provide her family with a happy Christmas after her husband lost his job led a Maryborough woman to shoplift goods worth a total of $2588 from seven shops, a court has heard.
Natasha Shirley Clarke pleaded guilty in Hervey Bay Magistrates Court to seven counts of stealing.
Police prosecutor Senior Constable Donna Sperling said Clarke was seen putting a number of items into her trolley at Sunshine Coast Shopping Centre in Maroochydore on December 15.
She said Clarke was seen leaving the seven different stores without paying for the goods.
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Clarke left with items such as thongs, electronics, and a princess gift pack.
Police caught up with the woman in the shopping centre car park where she had a full trolley.
"The items which she stole still had the security tags on them," Snr Const Sperling said.
"She said she stole the items because she was having a hard time."
The goods were returned to each of the shops without any damage.
Defence lawyer Justin Geldard said Clarke had been experiencing extreme financial pressure in the lead up to Christmas.
"She made the very foolish and poor choice to steal so her family had presents for Christmas," he said.
Mr Geldard said the incident was out of character and a "one off" event for the young mother.
Magistrate Graeme Tatnell warned Clarke from doing something similar again.
"When things are so difficult and you go out and do things like this, that makes life harder," he said.
Mr Tatnell reminded Clarke there are a number of charities willing to help families in need.
Clarke was fined $1000 and no conviction was recorded.