Sunday 23 July 2017

'Pickpocket Queen of Birminham' jailed after 153rd offence

Undated handout CCTV still issued by West Midlands Police of Margaret Johnson (right) - dubbed the Pickpocket Queen of Birmingham - stealing from a handbag at an Aldi store in Castle Bromwich.Photo: West Midlands Police/PA Wire
Undated handout CCTV still issued by West Midlands Police of Margaret Johnson (right) - dubbed the Pickpocket Queen of Birmingham - stealing from a handbag at an Aldi store in Castle Bromwich.Photo: West Midlands Police/PA Wire

Alexander Britton

A woman dubbed the Pickpocket Queen of Birmingham has been jailed after racking up her 153rd offence.

Margaret Johnson (40) was caught stealing from a handbag at Lidl in Tile Cross just six days after being released from prison in January this year.

Police said she took a mobile phone from another shopper in Asda in Chelmsley Wood less than an hour later.

Other victims of Johnson include women aged 80 and 84 and a 76-year-old woman who was shopping in Lidl in Tile Cross with her grandson who has Down's syndrome, police said.

Margaret Johnson- dubbed the Pickpocket Queen of Birmingham. Photo: West Midlands Police/PA Wire
Margaret Johnson- dubbed the Pickpocket Queen of Birmingham. Photo: West Midlands Police/PA Wire

Officers said she has "stooped to new lows" as she was handed a two-and-a-half-year jail sentence after pleading guilty at Birmingham Crown Court to thefts.

Birmingham Police Sergeant Julia Slater said: "It's hard to find words to describe Margaret Johnson. She is someone who thinks absolutely nothing about preying on the most vulnerable people in society and stealing money from them that they can ill-afford to lose.

"She deliberately targets elderly, lone female shoppers - people she considers easy targets - and when an opportunity arises she slyly swipes their bags or slips purses or mobile phones from pockets.

"Even by her own despicable standards she has stooped to new lows with these offences."

Johnson was also given a Criminal Behaviour Order, banning her from large parts of Birmingham city centre and from stores including Poundland, Clarks, Iceland and Asda across the whole of the West Midlands.

She was previously given a 43-week prison sentence in 2015 for thefts including one against a 90-year-old woman at Poundland in Sutton Coldfield four days after being released from an earlier jail sentence, police said.

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