A DISGRACED PSNI sergeant faces not only of being stripped of her rank but also her career of 15 years, after being convicted today (Thursday) of being a shoplifter.

This was the second time that Sgt Linda Totten was tried for stealing from her local Asda store in the run-up to Christmas 2013.

At the end of the first trial earlier this month, a jury were undecided and returned no verdicts.

However, today it took a Dungannon Crown Court jury of seven men and five women less than an hour to convict, despite her claims she was no thief and that as a PSNI officer her duty was to "keep the law, not break it".

The 50-year-old, who showed no emotion at the 'Guilty' verdicts, had denied two charges of stealing from ASDA's Enniskillen store, one for a trolley full of unknown goods on December 20 and a second for taking over £155 worth of goods four days later on Christmas Eve.

Releasing her on continuing bail until her sentencing in the New Year, Judge Neil Rafferty QC, told Totten, whose address was given as Enniskillen PSNI Station, this was no indication of how he would ultimately deal with her case.

The sergeant was caught on CCTV on both occasions with trolley loads of shopping, on top of which were a small box containing other goods.

However, when challenged, Totten told ASDA staff she paid for the bulk of the shopping and only needed to pay for those items in the box.

By their verdicts the jury appear to have accepted the prosecution case of barrister James Johnston, that Totten had not gone to the store "not to buy a few items... she went in to steal them".

He also accused Totten of being no ordinary shoplifter, who went "around the store slipping things under her coat".

And that, "these were two brazen and bold thefts" carried out by a "bluffer... with the expectation that she would be believed" when she claimed she'd already paid for most of her shopping.

Mr. Johnston also told the jury that Totten had attempted "to paint herself as a victim" and accused her of "attempting to garnish sympathy" from them.

However, the lawyer added Totten had not given evidence to them, claiming that she did so because she would have no answer or explanation to any "cogent and searching questions" that would be put to her.

In turn, it appears the jury rejected Totten's case and submissions from barrister Liam McStay who argued that shortcomings and failures in the prosecution case were "so severe that you cannot possibly convict".

Mr. McStay said there would have been no need for a trial if only the police had seized all CCTV footage available for 28 days, which would have shown conclusively what occurred on both occasions.

Instead, he added, the jury had not seen all of the security footage and to base any decision on only that portion shown in court was "highly dangerous".

Mr McStay said the "most frightening thing" was the failure of the police to secure all CCTV footage from ASDA.

The police, he said, had "a duty, a statutory duty to collect and preserve all evidence", but had not done so.

The lawyer said his client had a clear record, of good character, and a serving police officer who had answered all questions at interview, save giving the name of her previous partner.

She had spent over six-and-a-half hours being questioned in nine interviews over two days.

Mr. McStay claimed that there would have been no point in Totten giving evidence in court because of this, and she could add "nothing new" and that there was "nothing more she could say".

During those interviews, Totten had told her interviewers that: “If I go into a shop to buy something, I buy it. I wouldn’t leave a shop without paying.”

And when pressed if she'd deliberately tried to confuse staff in the Enniskillen store, she said: “My job is to keep the law not to break it. I was not my intention to do anything wrong.”