An assistant at B&Q in Penzance answered a shopper’s request to point her to where the wire cutters were - and then watched her cut off the security tags from two fires with them before walking away without paying.

At Truro Magistrates’ Court Jodine Marie Harvey, 33, of Penare Terrace, Penzance, pleaded guilty to two offences of theft and admitted breaching a suspended sentence and was sent to prison for 16 weeks.

Alison May, prosecuting for CPS, said Harvey had stolen two fires and a hammer drill from the store worth £404.36 and had also stolen items including alcohol from Sainsburys worth £304.90. She had previous convictions for theft.

Elliott Moore, her solicitor, said at B&Q she had left behind a bag holding a letter addressed to her which led the police to her.

Mr Moore said Harvey was capable of change, but her chaotic way of life was still causing her difficulties.