A PROLIFIC thief has been told she will not be heading to prison as punishment for her latest spell of offending.

Lesley Murphy is known to the courts through her truly awful criminal record.

The 48-year-old was last incarcerated in March, but reoffended shortly after her release from custody.

However, despite being up to old tricks, she was spared jail this time after magistrates deemed her capable of rehabilitation.

The defendant appeared before Chester Magistrates’ Court, where she pleaded guilty to charges of theft from a motor vehicle and criminal damage, with the court proceeding to pass sentence.

Explaining the circumstances of the offending, James Gore, representing the prosecution, spoke of how both offences were committed in Warrington on May 2.

Murphy smashed the rear windscreen of a white Ford Focus car and stole a handbag and £5 belonging to a woman from inside.

The offences occurred shortly after the defendant was released from a 12-week jail term imposed on her in March.

This came after she went on a crime spree in Stockton Heath on November 28 last year, trying door handles and stealing from inside cars.

Lesley Murphy has been spared an immediate prison sentence

Lesley Murphy has been spared an immediate prison sentence

Murphy stole a number of items, including a coat, sunglasses, a handbag, and a bankcard – which was later used at a service station.

Victim impact statements were read to the court, revealing how residents had been left feeling unsafe, stressed, and anxious as a result of Murphy’s theft spree.

At that hearing, the court heard how she had 29 previous convictions for 70 offences – of which 27 were theft-related.

For her latest offending, magistrates remarked that the severity of the charges merited a custodial sentence.

They said that Murphy has a ‘flagrant disregard for people and their property’.

However, they drew back from making this sentence immediate, adding that the defendant is ‘deemed to have turned a corner’ in her life, and that there is a ‘realistic prospect of rehabilitation’.

Murphy, of James Lee House on Brick Street in Warrington town centre, was sentenced to four weeks in prison suspended for 12 months.

In addition, she was ordered to pay £420 in compensation to the victim for her actions.