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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71140
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My wife and I were just in Tesco, where we purchased some goods.

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My wife and I were just in Tesco, where we purchased some goods. My wife had picked up an eye liner and knows, from experience, that if they are put in the trolley, they fall through the gaps. So, she put it in her pocket, intending to take it out and put it with our other goods at the till. She forgot. She was stopped by security and taken to an office.
She was questioned, with a police officer present for some of the time, although the police were not officially called (he just happened to be there). She was left, at least once, alone in the room with one male security official.
They refused to accept her explanation that it was a mistake, although the police officer said it was understandable that placing an eyeliner in a trolley could result in it falling out.
No criminal charges were made but she was photographed, banned from Tesco for a year and given a letter referring to RLPs and civil recovery.
I'd like to know where she stands, since it was a genuine mistake.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
It depends to what you refer really.
It must be said that she was very lucky not to be charged. I'm not quite sure how that decision can be explained in these circumstances but I suppose I wasn't at the police station with her.
In terms of Tesco's, they are perfectly entitled to ban her from their premises I'm afraid. Tesco's is a private establishments and can withdraw their general invitation to members of the public to enter at their sole discretion unless, of course, it is for an unlawful reason such as one that would offend against the equality act.
You can always write to them asking them to consider again. Realistically, I'm afraid it is quite unlikely that they will. Come what may she left the store without paying for this item. I realise that an eyeliner is an item of fairly low value and I suppose that might explain why the police didn't charge her but it is not very likely that they are going to accept that this was a genuine mistake. They will say that she concealed the item and left without paying.
In terms of civil recovery, it depends how much risk you are prepared to take. It's very unlikely that they will sue her if she does not pay and even if they do they only have a claim for the sum of their loss. Since they recovered this item I presume in saleable condition there is no real loss and so no claim.
Sorry if that is bad news but I have to give you the truth full information.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Well, actually, she did not leave the store. We had passed the checkout but we were still inside the store when they took her away to the office. Does this make a difference. I thought that they had to wait for someone to leave the store before approaching them.

No, but she passed the checkout points which is the issue.
Theft is a lot more complicated than shop assistants generally think but if she passed the point where payment would normally be made then realistically there is an argument that she was appropriating the property of another.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

If she is contacted regarding civil recovery, to prevent them from 'fishing' for information, can she make a request for everything they have regarding this case, under the data protection act?

Yes, she could ask for it but there's no real point. It would be better to ignore them and wait to see if they sue.
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