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I am a student currently studying law and want to be a solicitor one day. I have been so stressed out this year with the huge work load and exams and feel stressed and disorientated all the time. I have trouble sleeping because of the stress and have been taking sleeping pills to help. About a month ago I went to Superdrug to buy a lipstick for a friend's birthday. I felt woozy (possibly from the sleeping pills possibly from just stress) and I started walking out of the shop carrying the item without having paid by mistake.


The security guard on the door asked me what I was doing and I instantly apologised. He asked me to accompany him to a staff room which I did. I was terrified. I apologised profusely and explained it was an accident. He said he was going to "give me the benefit of the doubt" and accept that it was an accident. He said that that together with the fact that I had been "polite and respectful to him" meant that he was not going to call the police. This was an enormous relief to me because I was afraid being accused of theft would mean I would be unable to qualify as a solicitor one day.


He asked me to write down my name, address and date of birth, which I did on the back on an envelope he gave me. He did not mention any banning orders or anything and did not ask me to sign anything. Then I left.


About a week later I received a letter from RLP (a company I had never heard of) asking for £137. I looked this company up online and read a lot of news reports about how their actions are controversial and they are just out to make profit etc.

However, I understand how civil procedure works and understand that Superdrug did suffer a loss (in staff resources, etc) because of my actions, even if they weren't deliberate. I have read many forums saying they take no action if you don't pay, but would still hate to suffer court proceedings. I went onto RLP's website straight away and paid the full amount. I know people say you don't have to but I thought £137 was a small price to pay to avoid being implemented in court proceedings which I was afraid would damage my career prospects.


However, I have since read further stuff on the internet about this company and their "database of dishonest individuals". People say that when you pay you are admitting guilt and then they put you on this database.


I'm now terrified that by paying so willingly I have made a huge mistake and in effect admitted myself as a thief. Is this something that my future prospective employers could find out about? Could the Solicitors Regulation Authority refuse to accept me because of this?


I have thought about this everyday since it happened. I don't want to tell any of my family because they are all so supportive of my studying to become a solicitor and have gone to so much expense over it. I'm terrified I will disappoint them if I tell them I have possibly wasted all their money by making such a stupid mistake.


My logic tells me that RLP just uses this database as a way to make money and no employer, nor the SRA is ever likely to find out about it. And even if they do, they surely won't persecute me for a simple mistake which I apologised and made amends for. Especially as no police were involved.


I just can't shake this feeling that I have doomed my career though. I feel sick every time I think about this. I have been to my GP and explained my feeling to her together with my stress over exams and she has put me on a course of anti-depressants as a result. I can't sleep properly at night and am worried my exam performance is going to suffer.


Can someone please help me and give me some advice as to what the possible ramifications of this are likely to be? I'm desperate to put this whole incident behind me and move on with my life with a view for a positive future.

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I' m pretty sure the legal system would not even consider a dubious list made up by a profitering private "business"

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Thank you, I hope you are right!


I have read some stuff on these forums about how people have arranged to pay a fraction of the amount requested with RLP and got RLP to confirm they will not recored their details on this database.


I am now considering writing to RLP and stating that my payment was in no way an admission of guilt and to ask (or tell?) them not to put me on this database. However, as I've already paid I don't think I have any bargaining power.

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If you write to RLP as you suggest, you will only be giving credence to their absurd database. You've already fallen for their speculative invoicing trick - why increase the misery?


Put this behind you as an expensive lesson learned. RLP is a prime example of solicitors using their position to bully vulnerable people; when you qualify, remember RLP and vow to be better = it won't be difficult.

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