Two professional mums have told how they turned to stealing items from supermarkets for an unlikely reason.
The middle-class women told how they are chasing the high of leaving shops with stolen goods, all while leading successful careers and raising families.
Several have privately admitted to taking items, typically food and other supermarket goods, as part of an thrill-seeking hobby that developed at different points in their lives.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, they opened up about their petty criminality, as they explained their motives.
But each woman shared a common origin – they all started with innocent shopping trips during times of stress.
Caroline, 53, said she started stealing when she went to collect pre-ordered items during a run-of-the-mill trip.
She had visited the shop to pick up her items, and, before buying a £150 power drill, suddenly experienced a “compulsion” to peel the ‘already paid for’ sticker from one of her pre-ordered items, which she stuck on the drill.
To hide her plans, she also picked up some £5 bedding plants and proceeded to the shop exit without paying for the pricey item, fully anticipating “the hand of a security guard on my shoulder”.
But instead, she made it to her car and “felt such a buzz” that she had successfully got away with the theft.
Now she steals because of the “thrill” of getting away with the crime, as she said: “Since that first time, I’ve continued to shoplift sporadically.
“It’s wrong, but it gives me a sense of being in control when everything else in my life feels anything but.”
Caroline whois experiencing the menopause, dealing with an empty nest, and caring for elderly parents, which left her feeling out of control.
Lucy, 45, claimed her habit was due to similar stress, with her income having dramatically fallen while she was on maternity leave.
She lost her independence after leaving work to care for her child and has since shoplifted while armed with a pushchair.
The mum said: “It’s a doddle as I’ve always got the pushchair with me so I just put loose items in the storage underneath and only pay for things I put in a basket. It’s become a thrill because I’ve never been caught.”
Claire, 47, told the Mail she “took advantage of the chaos in the supermarkets” during the Covid lockdown and experienced the “pure thrill of taking the risk and getting away with it”.
She was also stressed at the time, stating she was “scared of losing my income during Covid” and has only ever stolen essentials from major supermarkets like ASDA and Tesco.
The mums have all escaped with their stolen items so far, but if they were ever caught and prosecuted, they would face significant penalties.
The maximum sentence for shoplifting goods worth less than £200 is six months in prison.
The offence is often dealt with by authorities using a postal fine starting from £70.
Those whose stolen items amount to more than £200 could face up to seven years in prison.