By John Hawkins

A SERIAL shoplifter reversed into a security guard in the car-park of a Stroud supermarket and drove off with the frightened man trapped in the boot, a court heard.

Mother-of-three Penny Morgan, 42, of St Lawrence Road, Gloucester pleaded guilty to dangerous driving and shoplifting and was jailed for 18 months at Gloucester Crown Court on Friday.

Prosecuting barrister Janine Wood said: "At 4.30pm on May 15 this year the defendant went into Sainsbury's in Stroud, loaded up a trolley with £312.10p of groceries and left the store without paying.

"She then loaded the goods into the boot of her Peugeot 206 and got into the car.

"But at that point Andrew Prior, a security officer at the store, tried to stop her but she reversed into him, forcing him to jump into the boot.

"She then drove forwards out of the car park and onto a main road with Mr Prior still in the boot.

"The car stopped and Mr Prior crawled out of the boot and the defendant walked off.

"Other store staff arrived and they found the defendant on her mobile phone calling for a taxi.

"She was escorted back to the store and the police were called.

"In a victim impact statement Mr Prior said that when the defendant reversed he thought he was going to be seriously injured.

"The defendant is a persistent shoplifter and has been for the past 24 years."

Defending barrister Dianne Heys said: "She is an obsessive shoplifter who steals as a form of escapism from the problems in her life.

"She tragically lost a baby a year ago and has suffered from depression and has got into serious debt, owing money to a loan shark.

"She finds it difficult to cope and has shown genuine remorse.

"She panicked, reversed her car and drove out of the car park."

Recorder Browne QC told Morris: "You have one of the most extensive criminal records for dishonesty I have ever seen and have been shoplifting on a regular basis for some 24 years.

"When you were challenged by Andrew prior you drove at him, using your car as a weapon.

"This is a very serious offence of dangerous driving and must merit a prison sentence."

Morgan was jailed for a total of 18 months and banned from driving for two years.