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Anthony Worrall Thompson Seeks ‘help’ After Shoplifting Arrest – but What’s Ailing the ‘Ready, Steady Crook’?

Posted on the 10 January 2012 by Periscope @periscopepost

Anthony Worrall Thompson seeks ‘help’ after shoplifting arrest – but what’s ailing the ‘Ready, Steady Crook’?

Anthony Worrall Thompson signing autosgraphs. Photo credit: Erik Hartberg,

Celebrity chef Anthony Worrall Thompson says that he will seek psychiatric help after being arrested for shoplifting wine, cheese, and two packets of discounted from high street grocery retailer Tesco this week.

Worrall Thompson, 60, star of the BBC cooking show Ready, Steady, Cook and brand face of a line of cooking and food products, evidently failed to scan items at the self-checkout on five different occasions over a two-week period. He was captured on CCTV; staff at the Henley-on-Thames Tesco then confronted Worrall Thompson on January 6 and called the police. He was arrested before being released with a caution, and has since been all over the media alternately apologizing for his actions, bringing up his past “massive trauma”, and suggesting he might be suffering from early on-set Alzheimer’s.

‘I am so sorry.’ Worrall Thompson released a statement on his website apologizing to, well, everyone, and declaring his intention to seek treatment: “I am so sorry for all my recent stupid and irresponsible actions; I am of course devastated for my family and friends, whom I’ve let down and will seek the treatment that is clearly needed. I am not the first, and I certainly won’t be the last person to do something without rhyme or reason – what went through my head, only time will tell.”

Why did I do it?’ Other media sources have been quoting extensively from Worrall Thompson’s interview with The Daily Express (he has a gig writing recipes and tips for The Sunday Express). “Why did I do it? I’ve been asking myself that same question ever since Friday,” he told the paper. “I don’t understand why. I’ve been racking my brains to think why on earth did I do it and what was going through my mind at the time, but I just don’t know. There is absolutely no reason. I’m totally at a loss, totally embarrassed, totally apologetic and gutted for my family and friends.” The items he stole totaled around £100, including onions, a newspaper, bread, and sandwiches; while Worrall Thompson’s restaurants have been hit by the recession – in 2009, he had to close four of his six – he’s certainly not that hard up.

In other shoplifting news: California Assemblywoman Mary Hayashi issued a public apology Monday after she was caught stealing from a San Francisco Neiman Marcus.

Worrall Thompson’s pain: A virgin until 22. The financial stress is just adding to a laundry list of other woes, however, The Daily Mail noted: In his 2003 autobiography, Raw, Worrall Thompson revealed a lifetime of unhappiness. “[H]e was effectively abandoned as a child by his alcoholic mother and was abused sexually by four different people. He suffered disfiguring facial injuries during a school rugby match which could not be fixed until he was an adult and the bones had finished growing. A virgin until 22, with incredibly low self-esteem, he made up for lost time with two marriages and numerous affairs.” Though whether everyone believes his account of a traumatic childhood – locked in a coal cupboard for sleep walking, sexual abuse, and a fraught relationship with his mother – remains to be seen. During his stint on celebrity torture show I’m a Celebrity in 2003, he was called “Pinochio”.

Other notable celebrity shoplifters: Lindsay Lohan was found guilty of stealing at $2,000 necklace in February 2011, just one of many brushes with the law for the Playboy-posing former child star. Who else? Beth Ditto, eyebrow-less frontwoman of The Gossip,admitted to stealing from charity shops; Britney Spears once stole a lighter from a gas station; and of course, Winona Ryder, who was convicted in 2002 of stealing thousands of dollars worth of goods from Saks Fifth Avenue in Berverly Hills.

It’s a cry for help. So says psychologist and co-director of the Centre for Stress Management Gleadeana McMahon in The Mirror: “Nobody would do this if they were a happy, contented individual…. Antony is not a happy man, that is for sure. Happy people don’t do those things.” It may be that he’s depressed, feeling “meaningless”, and looking for an “adrenaline buzz”: “Some people parachute jump and some people go shoplifting.” Good thing he’s seeking help.

“I had a great fruit cake at Antony Worrall Thompson‘s restaurant. It was Stollen,” tweeted Sickipediabot.

Middle class shoplifters. But according to Carol Midgley in The Times (£), Worrall Thompson certainly is “by no means alone in failing to resist the temptation of the self-scan checkout”: Pointing to 5-year-old research that indicates as many as 7 percent of shoppers admitting to stealing when scanning goods themselves, Midgley complained that too many people have no problem helping themselves to the old five-finger discount. The problem is these self-serve checkouts, the “job-stealing work of the Devil”. Said Midgely, a former Sainsbury’s checkout girl herself, “There’s a guaranteed way for supermarkets to stop self-scan stealing. Throw the machines out and give the job to a human being.”

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