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Police woman jailed for six months for shoplifting

Policewoman Linda Totten has been sentenced to six months

A POLICE sergeant who stole from an Asda store twice, loading up a trolley with goods, has been jailed for six months.

Judge Neil Rafferty QC told police officer Linda Totten that, while the public expected those entrusted to uphold the law, she had brazenly gone into the Enniskillen store in December 2013 deliberately "to steal".

"This is a mature woman who deliberately and with premeditation went to that store to steal and did so on two occasions," said the Dungannon Crown Court judge.

"Nevertheless it is my view that the offending in this particular case was so serious, so premeditated and so culpable that only an immediate custodial sentence will suffice," said the judge said.

Totten (50) whose address was given as Enniskillen PSNI station, arrived at Armagh Crown Court on Monday on a mobility scooter.

She was helped into court by her partner and two court staff.

In his summing up Judge Rafferty also cleared Asda staff of any wrongdoing in apprehending Totten.

Totten, who had 27 years experience in the police service, had accused staff of "homophobia, bigotry, prejudice and racism" and said they were "motived by malice".

But, the judge said, he wanted to make it "absolutely clear that these allegations had no basis in my view whatsoever".

Today defence lawyer Laim McStay said that while re-instated by the PSNI last August, Totten is "facing imminent disclipinary proceedings" and her livelihood and reputation are now completely at an end.

Prosecuting barrister James Johnston said that the sergeant was caught using the same modus operandi of loading her trolley with shopping on top of which she placed a cardboard box of cheap items which she then went to pay for.

Although caught on CCTV on both occasions, when challenged, Totten told Asda staff she had paid for the bulk of the shopping and only needed to pay for those items in the box.

Last November a jury took less than an hour to convict the 50-year-old of shoplifting despite her claims she was no thief but tasked to "keep the law, not break it".

Speaking before sentencing, the defence lawyer said his client's health had declined recently, that she has been referred for rheumatology and neurology problems, and had been bedridden since last weekend.

He added that she was so determined to attend court that her friend located a mobility scooter for her.

Totten is expected to lodge an appeal at the High Court.

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