A SHOPLIFTER’S home had been invaded by city drug dealers, a court heard.

Amy Sheppard attempted to walk out of Morrisons in Westbury with a trolley full of items worth over £363 in May.

Swindon magistrates heard 29-year-old Sheppard, of Phoenix Rise, had been 'cuckooed' by an out-of-town drug gang. The gangsters got her addicted to heroin and took over her home as a base from which to peddle their product.

Sam Arif, defending, said Sheppard had been given cash by the dealers to buy groceries. When she got to the store, she realised she had left the money at home.

Rather than return home, she decided to try and leave the store with the goods instead. “It all went wrong,” said Ms Arif.

A tussle with the store security guard resulted in him getting slapped and spat on and left Sheppard with a bloody nose, magistrates heard.

Sheppard pleaded guilty to three theft charges, an attempted theft and one count of assault.

Her life had spiralled after Sheppard’s son was taken from her 12 months ago by social services and left in the care of a sister.

“After that she fell into the wrong crowd and felt particularly vulnerable,” Ms Arif said.

Dealers had invaded her home: “They’ve given drugs to her. She’s never taken drugs before, but has found herself found herself with a heroin addiction.”

Ms Arif told Swindon Magistrates’ Court her client was desperate to get help with her addiction and get her son back. She planned to move closer to where he lived, in Exeter.

Sheppard wanted to be the “good mum she was before”, Ms Arif added.

Magistrates adjourned the case to September 28 for Sheppard to be assessed by probation officers for help with her drug addiction.