Hungry Woman Grabs Discarded Food, Arrested For Theft
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'Theft by finding': Woman who took potato waffles and pies thrown out by Tesco is handcuffed and charged with stealing
A woman was handcuffed and 'treated like a hardened criminal' after she helped herself to food worth £200 that had been thrown away by a Tesco store following a power cut.
Dozens of people could not believe their luck after the outlet of the supermarket giant bagged up thousands of pounds of spoiled stock and left it out in the street.
Sasha Hall, 21, helped herself to potato waffles, pies and ham from outside the Tesco Express in Great Baddow, Essex.
But she was stunned when police arrived at her home and arrested her for suspected 'theft by finding' and took her to the station in handcuffs.
'There was £3,000 worth of food going to waste on the street,' she told the Essex Chronicle. 'It had been thrown out, so I thought I could put it to better use.
'When the police came round I was so upset. I felt like a terrible criminal.'
The shop worker said the supermarket - which has the motto 'Every little helps' - should have been pleased that the food would be put to good use.
The Tesco Express in Great Baddow where Sasha Hall helped herself to food that had been thrown out following a power cut
She said: 'I would think the police have better things to be doing with their time than going after people who pick up potato waffles from the street. It's all been blown totally out of proportion.
'Tesco clearly did not want the food. They dumped it and rather than see it go to waste, I thought I could help feed me and my family for a week or two.'
Ms Hall, from Great Baddow, said she was shocked by the way the police dealt with the incident.
'They knocked at the door and said if I didn't open up they would use a battering ram,' she said. 'They handcuffed me and treated me like I was a hardened criminal and when we left they raided my house.
'I haven't got lots of money. I only make £600 a month. I'm on the brink of getting kicked out of my flat because I can't pay my arrears.'
A Tesco spokesman said: 'We are assisting the police with their inquiries. We seek to minimise waste in all our stores and where possible will seek to reuse and recycle it.'
Ms Hall, who works part-time at a rival supermarket in Chelmsford, is to appear in magistrates court on February 16 charged with theft by finding.