A woman who turned to alcohol to escape her mental health issues has pleaded guilty to a string of alcohol thefts which occurred almost on a daily basis.
Tori Page, 24, appeared via a video link from prison for a plea hearing at the Ballarat Magistrates' Court on Thursday.
The court was told Page stole from liquor stores across Ballarat, Melbourne and Melton between October and April.
Her main choice of beverage was a four-pack of Woodstock bourbon cans of which she would often steal two packs.
On other occasions Page took bottles of whiskey or bourbon without paying. She was captured on CCTV, staff then identified her and provided the footage to the police.
Page's alcohol theft spree escalated across Ballarat in February where she targeted Sebastopol BSW, Stockland Wendouree BWS, Ballarat central BWS, Delacombe BWS and Ballarat Central Liquor Land on 11 occasions.
The court was told Page stole two sandwiches from Sebastopol Caltex, two pairs of thongs from Harris Scarfe and numerous items from Target.
After taking the items from Target, Page asked staff for a refund and she was given a refunds card valued at $108. She then went to the hardware section and urinated on the floor.
Page was placed on bail on February 28 for 13 thefts from shops with a condition she not attend a liquor store to buy alcohol.
However Page attended liquor stores to buy alcohol in breach of her bail. She was arrested and remanded in custody on April 18.
Defence lawyer Scott Belcher said his client had turned to alcohol to escape her mental health issues as a result of significant trauma.
He said Page's trauma had reduced her ability to make sensible decisions, rather than poor choices.
Mr Belcher said Page was kicked out of home and placed in residential care at 14-years-of-age and was homeless by 18-years-of-age.
"Homelessness is not a crime but a significant impact on the accused's ability to avoid unlawful behaviour when mixed in with poor mental health and alcoholism to escape her psychological issues as a result of significant childhood and adolescent trauma," Mr Belcher said.
"If the accused can avoid alcohol then her prospects upon release are very good, if not, then jail terms will get longer."
Mr Belcher submitted a short, sharp prison sentence would be appropriate given Page had a poor compliance with community corrections orders and bail.
He said Page had pleaded guilty early and had spent five days in custody.
Magistrate Ron Saines said there was a significant issue in sentencing Page because it was unknown how long it would take to get support services in place.
He said he would make his own inquiries about women support services available through the prison Page is being held in and he deferred sentencing.
She pleaded guilty to more than 20 charges of theft from shop.
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