Two women who took part in an unusual shoplifting escapade had been told that one of the other women involved had a large amount of vouchers for the store.
Leo Murphy, defence solicitor, said the two women even asked for extra bags, as the paper bags they were using were tearing under the strain of being packed with so many clothes.
The accused had been told by another party that she had vouchers that would be expiring, and they agreed to help her to use them up. Mr Murphy said the two young women, who were never in any trouble before or since did not realise what they were doing was wrong.
Judge Olann Kelleher agreed that it was a very unusual incident and he said the court had been concerned that they were very young and had not come to adverse attention before.
The judge said the thefts were very serious offences, but that he would impose four-month suspended sentences.
As the defendants had been anxious to avoid convictions, Mr Murphy asked for recognisances to be fixed, pending an appeal.
The defendants were with two other young women and between them they stole €4,777 worth of clothes from Penney’s in Cork.
They claimed they believed at the time they had vouchers to take the goods for free.
The items were stolen in one visit to the store on September 11, 2016. The women repeatedly asked staff for more bags. They were putting so many items into the bags that they were asking for double bags for the goods on some of the occasions.
The four women were arrested at a bus stop outside Penney’s on St Patrick’s St, having failed to offer payment for any of the goods. All the stolen goods were recovered by the store.
Two women involved in the escapade pleaded guilty to theft yesterday. Hlumisa Simhaya, aged 22, of 13 Maplewood, Mallow, and Nikita George, aged 24, of 18 Cushing Rd, Farranree, had no previous convictions of any description.
Leo Murphy, defence solicitor, said Ms George was studying and Simhaya was hoping to commence third-level studies.
Mr Murphy said that one of the parties — not before the court — had told them that there were vouchers to cover the goods being taken. They believed that one of the other women, who kept approaching the cash registers, had been enquiring if their vouchers were covering everything they were taking.
Mr Murphy said the two women — as seen on CCTV — made no effort to conceal what they were doing.