Store managers had been forced to throw away about £10,000 worth of spoilt food after a power cut.
Last updated at 11:18 AM on 1st June 2011
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In court: Sasha Hall, 22, denied theft saying instead that a bag full of food had been delivered to her flat above the store by a friend
A woman accused of stealing £200 worth of ham, pies and potato waffles from a bin at a Tesco store has admitted handling stolen goods.
Sasha Hall, 22, claimed dozens of people raided the bin outside the Tesco Express store in Great Baddow, Essex, following a power failure on January 29.
But she denied theft at Chelmsford Crown Court, saying instead that a bag full of food had been delivered to her flat above the store by a friend.
Prosecutor Anil Patani told the court store managers had been forced to throw away about £10,000 worth of spoilt food following the power cut.
He said that when interviewed by police, Hall, who worked part-time at a rival supermarket in Chelmsford, said she was a regular customer at the store and had noticed the failure of fridges and freezers earlier in the day.
That evening a friend had delivered a bag, mainly containing 100 packets of ham, to her house and asked 'Do you want some free food?'.
Mr Patani told the court: 'She told the police that she did not know what she was receiving and was disappointed there was so much ham as she would have preferred some steak.
'She said that people from all over the estate had raided the bins.'
Defence advocate Emma Davenport said Hall had not been the person who packed the bags.
'When she took delivery of the bags she discovered they mostly contained ham and not much of any other variety,' she added.
'She did not plan to distribute the goods.'
Binned: Store managers had been forced to throw away about £10,000 worth of spoilt food following the power cut
Raided: Hall claimed dozens of people took food from the bin outside the Tesco Express store in Great Baddow, Essex, following a power failure on January 29
Hall currently holds down two jobs as she struggles with financial difficulties, she added.
Hall also admitted possession of cannabis. A count of theft was left to lie on file.
Judge Rodger Hayward Smith adjourned sentencing until June 20. He said: 'This is a far more serious matter than I first thought.'
Hall did not comment as she left court but earlier told the Essex Chronicle: 'There was £3,000 worth of food going to waste on the street. 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.
'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.'