A SERIAL shoplifter has been banned from going to branches of the Co-op for stealing meat.

June Downing, 50, was given the ban as part of bail conditions because, Barnsley Magistrates' Court was told, she tended to target the Co-op.

She was freed from custody after a plea by her solicitor Sean Fritchley, who said Downing's frequent spells in jail were not working.

He said it would be 'correct and proper' to offer her drug rehabilitation instead.

Mr Fritchley said: "She knows she will go straight to prison if she goes shoplifting while on bail.

"It's not as if she's going to get away with anything. She's known to Barnsley police because of her poor criminal record. She's not a danger to anyone.

"It seems she's now more motivated to tackle her drug problem. If we stand idly by and allow her to carry on down the slippery slope of drug taking, we will either read her obituary in the Barnsley Chronicle or she will end up back in court as she is today."

He added that Downing had beaten a drug problem once and worked to help other drug users. This had led to her leading a virtually crime-free life for 10 years.

But she had lapsed back into drugs when she had to look after her elderly parents.

Jayne Ormrod, prosecuting, called for Downing, of Doles Crescent, Royston, to be remanded in custody.

She said Downing had been released early from an 18-week jail sentence when she stole the meat.

"No bail conditions will stop her offending again," she said.

Rev Peter Yates, presiding, warned Downing she would have to get someone else to do her shopping if she wanted anything from the Co-op.

He said: "Any breach of bail conditions and you will go straight to prison. You must not abuse the trust of the court. We believe you will not do that."

Downing, who admitted shoplifting, will be sentenced on December 5.